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The Otter Sandstone is an internationally important source of Triassic fossils. These rocks are 245 – 235 million years old and form some areas of the exposed red cliffs around Sidmouth and Ladram bay. Although finding fossils in these cliffs is far less common than from the cliffs at Lyme Regis and Charmouth, early reptiles, reptile-like animals, fish and amphibians have been found.
When a species is described for the first time and published in the scientific literature a particular specimen (or sometimes group of specimens) must be chosen to represent this new species. They are scientifically very important. RAMM has many specimens in the collections that are definitely type material (mostly molluscs) and some are listed here. I have also included some that MIGHT be types – please let us know if you can clarify this for us.
George Montagu’s Molluscs
Colonel George Montagu (1753-1815) is one of the British naturalists who established the foundation of modern scientific study. Montagu identified many British animal species for the first time. He was also among the earliest members of the Linnean Society.
One of Montagu’s most important works was ‘Testacea Britannica: a Natural history of British shells, marine, land, and fresh-water, including the most minute: systematically arranged and embellished with figures’.
In January 2020 Arts Council England awarded the collection Designation status as a reflection of its international importance to science.
Mosses from India
This moss collected by Mr I H Burkill an Economic Botanist to the Botanical Survey of India. In 1911 the he accompanied the British military on the Abor Expedition where he surveyed the area for its botanical resources. He sent mosses to HN Dixon for identification who published his findings in 1914 in the Records of the Botanical Survey of India. 40 specimens from this expedition, including potential type material, are present in RAMM’s GB Savery Collection.