Were there ever sharks in the UK?

Yes! And not where you might expect… Recently, archaeologists from the University of Manchester made a shocking discovery – a 310 million year old shark egg case, (or mermaid’s purse), found in a long-abandoned mining tip in Doncaster, Yorkshire! Their findings, which also included many unique fossilised plants and creatures, further cements the idea that Yorkshire was once a tropical maze of swamps, rainforests and lakes, all teeming with life! The shark egg case was a particularly rare find as it is composed of soft-bodied material, which normally doesn’t survive the fossilization process. All cartilaginous fish, a group including sharks, dogfish, skates and rays, produce these fleshy sacks. The parent will attach the pocket-sized purse to seaweed or other life growing on the seabed and, once hatched, the juvenile fish will break free and begin an independent life.  

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