This final BioMystery for 2020 is accompanied by multiple questions and can teach us a number of lessons about the history and science of biology. Certainly, this is some sort of fossil and must be important since it is framed as if it were a valued work of art. It was found in the sea cliffs below the village of Charmouth on the Dorset coast of England in 1828. But, what it this? What is the taxonomic class of this creature? What evolutionary principle does this animal represent? Finally—and for extra credit—who found this specimen and what nursey rhyme did this famous collector inspire? The answers can be found on page 656.
Photos by W.F. McComas taken in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and at Charmouth beach in England’s Dorset County