'I thought they were bird droppings' - Ancient fossils found on a beach in Donegal

By Fiona Frawley

March 9, 2023 at 4:54pm


The fossils are reportedly older than dinosaurs.

A father and sons out for a seaside stroll from Kincasslagh, Donegal made a unique discovery this week - one that dates back 300 million years.

According to Donegal Live, the family came across a rock that had a series of unique markings on it while out for a seaside stroll on Cruit Island.

"The rock was on a small beach area covered with dorleens and boulders but despite being small it stood out because of its colour and the markings on it", father of the family Ben McGonagle told the publication.

"At first I thought it may just be a rock covered in bird droppings but on closer inspection, it was clear that there were fossil remains of some type on the rock, he continued.

One of the rocks found on Cruit Island, image via Donegal Live. 

Ben then reached out to a few geologists online to see if they could help identify the fossils, and Cormac McGinley of Cormac's Coast got back to him.

Cormac's Coast is a Clare-based company through which Cormac leads educational excursions around the UNESCO Burren GeoPark and Cliffs of Moher.

Upon reviewing the fossil patterns on the rocks, Cormac was able to discover a Solitary Rugose Coral Fossil and a Communal Coral Fossil, estimating that these fossils date back to circa 330 million years ago.

"To put that into context, that is about 100 million years before dinosaurs began to roam the earth. Perhaps even more interesting is that at that time Ireland was located just south of the equator - we've come a long way since!" Ben said.


Header image via Google Maps/Shutterstock 

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