Nature Video

By Katy Gill


This mysterious rock kept its secret for over 180 million years, before a twist of fate cracked open the secret.

Sy Donne found the stone as a young child, whilst on holiday and was fascinated by its interesting shape and pattern.

He kept the rock in a collection and despite originally working in sales, eventually he decided to go to university years later in order to study Geology.

Having amassed quite  alrge collection of rocks since then, his wife had asked him to get rid of some of them.

It was while sorting through the collection, that he discovered a crack in his childhood treasure.

Splitting it open, he discovered an amazing selection of ammonite fossils – called ‘Arnioceras semicostatum’.

Sy Donne, 45, said: “I collected the rock from a beach just south of Whitby, UK some 30-35 years ago and kept it along with some other rocks id collected as a kid.

“At the time it wasn’t cracked open but solid, I thought it was a cool shape and the crystals and patterns on the outside were interesting.

“Over the years of life, the rock journeyed with me and my new family from home to home and country to country, even visiting Japan! It was boxed for many years.

“I was employed in sales for many years and was working for Rentokil as a sales surveyor and just thought “I’m sick of this ‘rat race’ and decided to go to University and study Geology.

“A few years ago, Mrs said you have enough rocks how about getting rid of some. What!

“I went to tidy out the box and noticed this one had a crack in it and after just a little prizing, it “popped” open to reveal this little bit of palaeontological magic.

“It is dated from the Jurassic era about 180Ma to be more precise and are a type of ammonite called ‘Arnioceras semicostatum’.

“I am now a geologist working on the Hinkley Point C project and work with ammonites on a daily basis, granted a little older, like me  but who would have thought, when I collected this rock, my life would twist and turn and I would end up being a professional geologist.

“I did have an offer of $1200 for it which I politely turned down. I do get asked to sell it a lot, but I don’t think I want to sell it. I was offered $3000 last night for the fossil – it’s mad.”