Make way for the Isle of Wight Fossil Hunters: Jack, Theo and Megan

The Isle of Wight has always been recognised as one of the best places to find dinosaur bones because of its diverse geology and abundance of fossils. These three young fossil hunters are continuing the tradition of Isle of Wight Hidden Hero, Rev William Fox

Megan Jack and Theo

Earlier this year, OnTheWight began a series of features focused on interesting and positive things young people on the Isle of Wight are doing, whether that’s sport, art, or an entrepreneurial endeavour.

So far we’ve featured Luke Chandler, Blake Nash, Ethan Drummond-Harris, Beth Pitts, Cameron Palin and Charlie Adkins.

Jack, Theo and Megan
This week an email arrived from three young Islanders telling us about their new venture. We felt it suited this series perfectly, so let us introduce, Jack, Theo and Megan.

The trio actively fossil hunt and volunteer at the local museums. Together they have a large knowledge base covering the whole of the Island’s geology and fossils, something, they say, “of which most of the other fossil walk providers cannot boast”.

Jack, 18, and currently a student at the VI form in Newport, and has enrolled onto the palaeontology degree course at Portsmouth University starting this year.

Jack is often found on the south coast of the Island, hunting for ammonites and other goodies from the chalk of the Island, something he has been doing for several years. Jack has a great knowledge of all the fossils to be found from the Chalk and Lower Greensand, having amassed a huge collection himself.

Theo, 20, is in his first year of Marine Biology at Portsmouth University, with a keen interest in Cetaceans. However, he spends all his spare time walking the north coast of the Island, finding fossils of mammals, and collecting sediment samples for sieving.

This sieving allows him to find 30 million year old microvertebrates, most of which look like a grain of sand to the naked eye! His most recent find being a tooth from an early bat! Theo’s collecting of the north coast has meant he has built up a amazing knowledge of the geology and the fossils.

And Megan, 23, graduated last year with a first class degree in palaeontology from Portsmouth University, and is now on the masters degree there studying a Late Jurassic Ichthyosaur (a type of marine reptile) from Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset.

She has published scientific papers and currently working on publications on the Isle of Wight geology. She has collected from the Island’s beaches for over 15 years, specifically from the South West coast collecting dinosaurs, and has a lot of experience giving guided tours for several years.

Growing interest on Facebook
They started as a group of friends, all meeting at Dinosaur Isle museum, volunteering.

That led to them creating a new Facebook page which update twice a week, on a specific topic of Island geology or a fossil. It’s proved very popular, in just a few months they’ve managed to get over 860 followers.

Guided tours
The fossil-hunting trio are now branching out with their new venture providing guided tours of the Island’s beaches. They offer the public a handful of the most fossiliferous beaches for public tours, where you are guaranteed to find lots of fossils you are able to keep!

They also offer specialised private tours for small groups, who may have specific interests, fancy learning more on a one to one basis, or would just like a quiet couple of hours on the beach without being surrounded by strangers.

Find out more
You can find out more about the Wight Coast Fossil tours, by visiting the trio’s Website or Facebook Page.

Get in touch
We’re very impressed with what they three young Islanders are doing. They’ve showed that finding an interest and following it can lead you to many new and rewarding endeavours.

If you know of a young person who has achieved positive things in their life and deserve some recognition, get in touch with us.

Sunday, 7th April, 2019 11:43am



Filed under: Island-wide, Volunteering, Youth

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