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Stan Wood was an exceptional fossil collector who, over a collecting career of more than 40 years, provided British palaeontology with an abundance and variety of new Carboniferous fossils, the like of which had not been collected since Victorian times. So, what made him a great collector? Here, with the help of Stan's family, his friends and colleagues, we try to provide the answer. There is no single factor that stands out, but a complex mixture of innate and learned behaviours that together produced a unique talent. Although he acquired an Open University degree in geology, Stan was largely self-taught as a collector and, in doing so, became an accomplished and confident field geologist. He was naturally curious, persistent and very observant, with a photographic memory. He was tough, very strong and enjoyed hard physical work. He was congenial, unorthodox and a calculated risk taker. He asked questions, tested ideas and had a healthy disregard for authority. He was systematic, kept detailed records and shared his discoveries. He not only loved collecting fossils but, in the process, discovered in himself the essential qualities of a true scientist.
Air-heave structures have previously been described from marine lagoonal deposits, both from present day and ancient sediments. This paper records the find of such structures in playa sediments from the Scottish Old Red—perhaps the first record of such structures from non-marine sediments in the geological column. It is suggested that the structures were formed on the beaches of “Lake Caledonia”, “during a storm, seich, or a heavy rainfall”.
Restoration of the morphology of Angustidontus seriatus Cooper, 1936 based on complete specimens from the Famennian of Nevada and Poland, supports its affinity to the coeval alleged decapod Palaeopalaemon and suggests eocarid (possibly also peracarid) affinities. Predatory adaptation of the thoracopods and the relatively short pereion make this crustacean only superficially resemble the archaeostomatopod hoplocarids, because the large grasping appendages of Angustidontus represent the first, rather than second, maxillipeds and acted in the opposite direction: downward. Another similar adaptation of the antennae in the Viséan Palaemysis suggests a widespread adaptation to predation among early eumalacostracans. The large sample collected from the Woodruff Formation of Nevada permits biometric characterisation of the grasping maxillipeds of Angustidontus, showing that their highly variable morphology should not be used to define species. All previously described species are therefore here synonymised with A. seriatus. Differences in gnathobases of mandibles found in articulated specimens in Nevada, and associated with isolated maxillipeds and articulated specimens possibly representing another unnamed species in Poland, suggest that such mandibles may eventually prove to be taxonomically more significant.
The Foulden Site of Special Scientific Interest is one of the few Cementstone Group localities that yields significant fauna and flora. Excavations in 1980 and 1981 removed a 1·3 m2 slab of the Fish Bed for laboratory study of the vertical and spatial distribution of the biota. Layer by layer analysis revealed an almost mutually exclusive relationship between the vertical distribution of the palaeoniscoid fishes and malacostracan crustaceans, as well as a horizon crowded with juvenile acanthodians. Elongate elements of this biota showed slight preferred orientations at that prolific horizon. Some 27 m of strata including the Fish Bed, Plant Bed and Shell Bed are recorded in detail, and their biota noted. Interim results of work on the main groups collected are summarised in associated papers in this part of Transactions. Brief reports are given here on the euryhaline marine bivalve mollusc Modiolus latus (Portlock), a rare durophagous bradyodont shark tooth and an Eogyrinus-like amphibian scute.
Differences in the preservation of Jurassic thylacocephalans and conchyliocarids have given rise to different interpretations of the form of these fossils, and thus their mode of life. When evidence from these two groups is combined with that derived from Palaeozoic concavicarids, it becomes possible to unify the several interpretations of this one group of organisms, the Thylacocephala. The group ranges from at least the Silurian to the Cretaceous.
A review is given of how these differences of interpretation have arisen, and some resolution is attempted. If the thylacocephalan “anterior structure” is reinterpreted by analogy with hyperiid amphipods as a paired compound eye occupying most of the surface of the head, it explains its bilobed nature and the position of the stomach within the structure, but it raises the difficulty of a post-cephalic origin for the carapace. The simpler solution is preferred of regarding this structure as discrete paired eyes with a smooth cornea and subjacent crystal cones.
The raptorial appendages are post-oral and post-adductor in insertion. They are therefore tentatively identified as the maxillae and maxilliped, but verification of the mandible's position is needed to test this. The postero-ventral battery of “body somites” is reinterpreted as paired protopods of abdominal limbs. A respiratory current is deduced to have entered a branchiostegal chamber ventrally, and left it posterodorsally. It is speculated that the looped linear pattern of intra-cuticular spheres in Paraostenia are photophores. The large eyes with small interommatidial angles were probably used to discern low contrast prey or carrion against a dim background. By analogy with hyperiid amphipods, it is suggested that at least some thylacocephalans were mesopelagic predators. They may have attained neutral buoyancy from their food substrate of shark and coleoids.
The occurrence of Monograptus in the Carmichael Burn section of the Midland Valley of Scotland has now been confirmed. A new fauna is described from beds previously regarded as Ludlovian which are here suggested to be of Valentian age. A detailed stratigraphical succession has been established and the structure of the area revised in the light of this new information, most of which was derived from a number of exploratory pits sunk for the purpose. Tentative correlations with the other Midland Valley inliers are attempted and many problems requiring future solution are raised.
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