Dr. David “Norwegian Blue” Waterhouse (from Norwich Castle Museum) has come through once again with a challenging mystery object. This was found in Thetford Forest about 20 years ago – do you have any idea what it might be?
As usual, put your suggestions in the comments section below and feel free to ask questions, which I will do my best to answer. Unfortunately Dave can’t provide the answers as he’s busy giving a talk in Great Yarmouth today. Good luck!
Blimey – 3 minutes after being posted and you’re in there! However, I’m afraid these aren’t cannonballs.
A Pot boiler?
Or a meteroite?
looks like melted quartz
Is it fossilised dung?
It’s not fossil dung (or coprolite as it’s also known) – I really must put some of that up as a mystery object sometime.
Hope the new house is working out well!
it can’t be something as obvious as some nodules of marcassite, can it? I’ll say it for you: no.
OK now I’m not looking at this on my phone it’s clearly marcassite or pyrite but you probably want to know what’s been preserved like this. My guess is a swoon (the correct collective noun for homunculi). Slightly eroded.
I was going to go for coprolites. The broken bit in the first bit looks interesting, it looks like a “radial pattern”* mineralisation of something organic. How about the mineralised remains of part of a tree or fern or other largish plant?
Grimes Graves is in Thetford forest – a prehistoric flint mine – I’m wondering if this is useful information.
*radial pattern is a term I made up myself, I don’t know what I’m talking about.
it looks like it could be a truffle or some other kind of fungus.
A space rock of some kind?
I don’t suppose it is glass from a lightning strike into sand is it?
Is it some sort of marker stone?
Could it be a pikachu doll after five minutes in a microwave? Or am I on entirely the wrong track?
well, i can’t come up with anything more appropriate than the previous guesses, so i’m going to say i think its a fossilised wood elf’s hand (come on, that first pic has a definite fist look to it!) 😀
A fossilised dinosaur poo? (ie a coprolith)
Looks to me like a fossilised hamster being suckled by baby hamsters……..
Could it be a Bezoar of some kind?
Not quite smooth enough I suppose? Unpolished?
Some excellent answers so far!
I will give more feedback once I get an opportunity.
Keep up the good work everyone!
Looks like a fossilized fernhead, or something Carboniferous.
Fossilized turtle eggs?
Henry VIII’s testicular region
is it a truffle
Fossilised Dinosaur eggs?
Definitely some kind of fossilised egg clutch
What’s the weight?
dumplings left in the oven too long?
Kidney stones from a horse?
Remnants of food from a cooking pot? Size shows it’s slightly smaller than it looks on my monitor…
the thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, materialised?
Fossilised truffle (not chocolate).
well if this was a democracy, the object would definitely be a truffle by now. Or dung. Or perhaps both.
Whatever it is, it seems to have fingernails. (top pic)
hence my guess of fossilised wood elf’s hand 🙂
Looks like monkey hands to me.
A land snail or similar fossilised but the shell has either disintegrated or become distorted due to pressure or it nevef had one as it’s a slug!
I think it is a concretion. It looks like a dinosaur egg egg clutch we call extra small herbivore. However it lacks any egg shell pattern and the size is even smaller than the smallest known herbivore eggs (ovalized) found and identified so far (3cm diameter). Photo one with the broken sphere shows a growth pattern and center nut characteristic of a concretion.
Apologies for not being able to answer questions yesterday – I was rushed off my feet and all the new viewers brought in via QI (hello!) meant I had far more comments pouring in than usual (plus an order of magnitude more views).
Lots of great suggestions – I love the fossilised wood elf’s hand idea. There is a correct answer buried in there and it isn’t the dinosaur poo (aka coprolite), over-cooked food, fungi, meteorite, lightning strike, eggs or snail.
It also isn’t anything I’ve touched on before (so not a bezoar).
The answer will be posted on Monday!
Nope, not grapeshot. It’s naturally occurring rather than having been made in that shape.
At first it looks like a collection of those little pine cone balls. You can even see a cutaway in the first photo on the top left – looks a little like a seed formation. Could they be petrified blackberries, or raspberries? Neat contest. Fun mystery 🙂
Not pine cones or the drupelets (individual seed-containing fleshy components of compound fruits) of petrified blackberries or raspberries.
Glad you like the mystery object!
I would like to see a close up on the broken area. The crystalline area appears to be quartz xls with secondary growth of chalcedony quartz covering the specimen, or the secondary could be an oxide like hematite or pyrolusite???
Well, after scrutinizing the first photograph, I retract my first guess.
It appears to be organic. A wood tumor of some kind???
Your first guess was pretty close – particularly the iron minerals suggested…
Looks like hematite. To confirm or kill my educated guess based on just a photo, you’d have to do a test or two to confirm its composition is basically iron oxide. Hematite appears many different ways in nature, one of the ways looks a lot like what you have.
Very close! See here for the answer.
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