Fossil in focus after 28 million years

ON THE BEACH: Rebecca Hosking with her latest fossil from a 28-million-year-old coral. 186969

By Luke Voogt

A 28-million-year-old coral fossil has become the latest find in the collection of Fairhaven’s Rebecca Hosking and Mark Simson.

The couple has collected more than 20 animal and plant fossils, with the most ancient being about 120 million years old.

“It’s like little gifts from the past that come into the present,” Rebecca said.

Her fascination for prehistoric plants and animals began at age 5 on “fossil hunts” with her older sister at Kilmore.

“Our love of nature sort of brought us together,” she said.

Later, she declined a six-month position with a senior geologist when she studied arts at Bendigo but her fossil fascination never waned.

“It seems it’s something I’ll always have an interest in.”

The Indy photographer and environmental teacher found most of her fossils walking along the beach after moving to Fairhaven10 years ago.

“I’ve found urchins, sea sponges, a shark’s tooth, bryozoans and brachiopods in this area,” she said.

“In my mind they’re pretty regular finds, whereas the coral and plant fossils are really cool finds.”

Mark found his first coral fossil 20 years ago, before meeting Rebecca.

A decade later Rebecca found another of their favourite fossils, a 120-million-year-old plant split in two.

“It’s amazing! I’ve got a carbon copy on both sides,” she said.

Museums Victoria curator emeritus Tom Darragh identified the latest find as a placotrochus, a coral from Cainozoic era (66 million years ago to now).

The fossil was 23 to 28 million years old, he said.

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