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Dipnoan diversity in the early Pennsylvanian of Scotland: new lungfish from the Lower Coal Measures of North Lanarkshire

Only two lungfish have been recorded in the Scottish Coal Measures in the past one hundred and fifty years: Ctenodus and Sagenodus . Here we describe a suite of new lungfish specimens collected from sites in the Scottish Central Coalfield that represent a least four taxa: Sagenodus ; Conchopoma ; and two new forms Braccodus kerri gen. et sp. nov and Lanarkodus clarki gen. et sp. nov. These are part of an extensive vertebrate fauna recently discovered in colliery waste from mining the Upper and Lower Drumgray Coal. These coals lie within the Communis Chronozone and are of Langsettian age. The specimens are much smaller than those found previously in the Scottish Coal Measures and represent fish between 60 and 300 mm long. The basihyal tooth plates of Conchopoma are the first record of this genus in the Pennsylvanian of Europe. Lanarkodus clarki has a heterodont dentition not previously described from the Pennsylvanian. All the new material is preserved in thin, laminated shales, suggesting a small lake environment rather than the typical coal swamp. These new discoveries demonstrate that Pennsylvanian lungfish were more diverse than previously realised and add to growing evidence that the rate of lungfish evolution did not decline significantly after the Devonian, and remained high throughout the Carboniferous. Thematic collection: This article is part of the The Palaeontology of Scotland collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/topic/collections/palaeontology-of-scotland

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Aspects of <i>Aktuo-Paläontologie</i> of the rocky beaches of the eastern Isle of Mull, UK

Conglomerates are, commonly, only poorly fossiliferous at best. Yet beaches with common lithic clasts can be used to model the taphonomy of fossils in conglomeratic settings. Four beaches on the east coast of the Isle of Mull, Inner Hebrides, are clast-rich, with lithic pebbles, cobbles and boulders, but poor in shells, many of which are poorly preserved. There is ample evidence of shells being bored and encrusted, yet many or most of these were infested after death of the host. Of the ‘boring trinity’, Caulostrepsis Clarke, Entobia Bronn and Gastrochaenolites Leymerie, so typical of the Trypanites Ichnofacies around Britain's coasts, only the last ichnogenus was not present, most probably owing to the absence of suitable mobile substrates (such as limestone cobbles and oysters). Encrusters including Balanus , serpulids and spirorbids show different patterns of preservation, probably owing to multiple factors. Bored wood ( Apectoichnus ) was found at only one locality, which may be due to hydrodynamic sorting. Whelk shells show a range of patterns of breakage, most probably caused by mechanical damage. But conglomerates commonly preserve fossil snails either complete or not at all. The results from these sites suggest that they represent an intermediate condition rarely preserved in the rock record.

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New postcranial remains from the Lealt Shale Formation of the Isle of Skye, Scotland, showcase hidden pterosaur diversity in the Middle Jurassic

The Early to Middle Jurassic transition was significant in pterosaur evolution, during which these volant reptiles exploded in diversity alongside dinosaurs and other animals. It has long been thought, however, that pterosaurs did not develop large wingspans until after the Jurassic, a notion challenged by the recent discovery of Dearc sgiathanach in the Bathonian-aged Lealt Shale Formation of the Isle of Skye, Scotland, whose holotype specimen had an estimated wingspan greater than 2.5 m. We here report the discovery of a new pterosaur specimen from the Lealt Shale Formation, comprising a tibiotarsus, metatarsal, pedal phalanges and caudal vertebrae. The elongate tail vertebrae with ossified processes indicate that the specimen is a non-pterodactyloid pterosaur, albeit its fragmentary nature makes it difficult to determine whether it belongs to a new taxon. Its metatarsal and caudal vertebrae are considerably larger than corresponding bones in the Dearc holotype, indicating that it belonged to an even larger individual, thus demonstrating that pterosaurs with broad wingspans were not anomalous in the Middle Jurassic. The growing Middle Jurassic pterosaur record of Scotland and England, although mostly represented by isolated and fragmentary fossils, reveals a high diversity of clades, long obscured by the lack of well-preserved skeletons.

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Combining ground stability investigation with exploratory drilling for mine water geothermal energy development; lessons from exploration and monitoring

Mine water geothermal energy's potential for decarbonization of heating and cooling in the UK has led to increased national interest and development of new projects. In this study, mine water geothermal exploration has been coupled with ground investigation techniques to assess ground stability alongside seasonal mine water hydrogeology and geochemistry. Drilling operations in late 2020 at Dollar Colliery, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, encountered mined coal seams with varying conditions (void, intact, waste, etc.), reflecting different techniques used throughout a protracted mining history. We found that time and resources spent grouting casing through worked mine seams (ensuring hydraulic separation) can be saved by accessing deeper seams where those above are unworked. Continued assessment of existing water discharges and completion of boreholes with slotted liners into mined coal seams and fractured roof strata allowed chemical and water level changes to be monitored across a 1 year period. Mine water heads and mine discharge flow rates vary seasonally and are elevated between late autumn and early spring. The mine water has a low dissolved solute content. Dissolved sulfate- 34 S isotope data suggest increased pyrite oxidation during lower water levels. These findings can inform future building decisions, whereby housing developments on site could use the mine water for heating. Supplementary material: Borehole data and completion diagrams are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.22188801 Thematic collection: This article is part of the Early Career Research collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/topic/collections/early-career-research

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The geological and historical milieu of an ornamental cephalopod limestone (‘orthoceratite limestone’, Ordovician, Sweden) used in the Clerk Mausoleum (1684), St Mungo's Kirkyard, Penicuik, Scotland

A slab of cephalopod limestone bears a dedicatory Latin inscription on the mausoleum built around 1684 by Sir John Clerk of Penicuik (1649–1722) for his wife Elizabeth Henderson (1658–83) at St Mungo's Church, Penicuik, near Edinburgh, Scotland. The stone is identified on sedimentological and palaeontological evidence and historical context as Ordovician ‘orthoceratite limestone’ from Sweden, probably the island of Öland, rather than Carboniferous cephalopod limestone from the much nearer Closeburn area of Dumfriesshire. ‘Orthoceratite limestone’ was little used in Great Britain, and mainly as paving, so its use in a funerary monument is unusual. It is, however, paralleled by contemporary examples at Winchester Cathedral. The Penicuik slab was probably imported either directly from Sweden, or through Rotterdam or another Netherlands entrepôt. It is the only surviving historical example of this stone known in Edinburgh and the Lothians, probably because of changing fashions, building demolition and renewal of worn paving. The inscription shows errors of composition, carving and installation, ascribed to inexperience or haste. The employment of ‘orthoceratite limestone’ is interpreted as seeking to emulate Roman use of marbles and similar ornamental stones. It contributes to the Penicuik mausoleum's significance as a pioneering example of classical or Antique architecture.

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