Rare scor­pion was jewel of fos­sil finds

Rochdale Observer - - LOOKING BACK -

IN THIS week’s his­tory fea­ture we’re tak­ing you back a bit fur­ther than usual – 240 mil­lion years ago, to be ex­act.

For it was in Rochdale that fas­ci­nat­ing pre­his­toric rem­nants were un­earthed by work­men from the early 1890s on­wards.

Ex­perts were shaken by the finds made at Sparth Bot­toms, which had long been a haven for fos­sil hunters since fos­silised plants often turned up there.

But in Septem­ber 1894, work­men went one bet­ter by un­cov­er­ing a whole fos­silised tree.

And six years later, the fore­man of the brick­works found a clay nod­ule of iron­stone con­tain­ing a ‘beau­ti­ful fos­sil crus­tacean.’

Var­i­ous other crab­like forms were found over the next few years be­fore the big break­through in 1903.

This was an en­tirely new species of scor­pion, dubbed Eoscor­pius Sparthen­sis in hon­our of Sparth Bot­toms.

Touch­stones still has a cast of the scor­pion fos­sil on dis­play, the only ex­am­ple of the species ever found.

For more pic­tures like this, please visit the Touch­stone Archives at www.link4life.org.

●●The only ex­am­ple of the scor­pion Eoscor­pius Sparthen­sis which was dis­cov­ered in 1903 ●●This pic­ture was taken on Septem­ber 25, 1894 and shows a coal worker with the rem­nants of a fos­silised tree

●●The brick­works at Sparth Bot­toms where many of the fos­sils were found

●●Work­men with a fos­silised tree dis­cov­ered in the 1890s

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