Frozen in time

On 6 May 2008, a landslip occurred between Lyme Regis and Charmouth, part of Dorset’s World Heritage Jurassic Coast. Geologists are drawn to such events in anticipation of abundant and unusual finds. The finds this time were particularly unusual, because the area affected included a former landfill site at the top of the cliffs. (The NHM is London’s Natural History museum, which likes to be informed of unusual discoveries.)


There’s been a landslip in Lyme Regis,
Revealing unexpected ghosts:
Fine specimens of fossil fridges
Exposed on its Jurassic Coasts.

Geologists arrive, excited –
Jurassic white goods are quite rare.
They all confer when something’s sighted:
Electrolux, or Frigidaire?”

They can’t agree on date or name,
But when they’ve found a few more pieces,
They stroke their beards and then exclaim,
“We think we’ve found a brand new species!”

The NHM soon gets involved
And clambers o’er the jumbled scene.
“It’s clear,” they say, “the problem’s solved:
It’s Landfilloides (Holocene).”

[Photo: British Geological Survey]
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