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A Belemnite for Your Bucket List

Fellow fossils, add this trip to your bucket list: The Jurassic Coast, a 95-mile stretch of seashore on the English Channel side of southern England and World Heritage Site. This offbeat vacation spot beckons to those of us who once dug for dinosaurs when we were kids. Check out Charmouth Beach, in Lyme Regis. Thanks to ongoing cliff erosion, a host of prehistoric treasures may be plucked from the rocky shore. Not exactly a sun-drenched beach, so don't go seeking a tan. But you may find a belemnite instead. 

For the literary minded, you may remember Lyme Regis from "The French Lieutenant's Woman," by John Fowles. (He also wrote the guide "A Short History of Lyme Regis.") For fossil hunters in search of good fictional history, read "Remarkable Creatures: A Novel," by Tracy Chevalier (author of "Girl with a Pearl Earring"), which recounts the story of Mary Anning, whose discoveries of marine fossils predated our understanding of paleontology. The 1908 tongue-twister "she sells seashells by the seashore" was a tip of the hat to Anning, who actually sold mostly fossils.  

Unlike other fossil-rich areas, some of which are protected, you can keep what you find. (Hey, maybe I shouldn't have shared this secret with y'all!) Well, they say there's enough ammonites for everyone.

Find the entire New York Times story at


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