HATFIELD Moors is famous as a nature reserve for its endangered species. But it turned out that one sample is more than rare - it’s been extinct for millions of years!
Artist Bob Wakefield stumbled across a fossil of a plant he reckons is probably 350 million years old when he went for a run around the moors.
He looked down as he was running and spotted it among the stones on a path which takes visitors around the venue.
He believes it may be an example of a sigillaria, an extinct type of tree-sized plant related to modern club mosses. They were around 360- to 300 million years ago.
He said: “I go over there to jog in the peat, and the fossil just appeared in the pathway. They had put down rubble on the path round the moor.
“I just happened to spot it - I’ve no idea where it came from.
“I realised straightaway what it was - I’ve made copies of fossils for museum exhibitions in the past. I used to make scenic reconstructions, and I once did a prehistoric forest with sigillaria trees, and I thought it looked like those.
“I’m not sure if that is what it is though. There are probably billions of tonnes of fossils around in the world like that, but I didn’t expect to see one while I was jogging around Hatfield Moors.”
The 60-year-old, who lives in Goole, said he was familiar with fossils because he used to live near chalklands in the South West of England which are famous for their fossils.
He said: “I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I’ve got it on a window ledge at the moment. It may gather dust there for another 350 million years!”
It is not the first thing Bob has picked up on the moors in Doncaster.
He has in the past picked up a deer’s skull complete with antlers while walking on Thorne Moors.
“I’m interested in natural history, and I do a lot of walking and jogging,” he said.