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Fossil oyster - Gryphaea

These fossils are over 200 million years old and belong to the extinct oyster species Gryphaea. Because of its typical shape this fossil is also called the Devil's toenail.
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200 million years old

These fossil shells are remnants of the Gryphaea that belonged to the oysters. About 200 million years ago in the beginning of the Jurassic, this was a very successful species. It is a popular fossil to collect because of its typical shape reminiscent of a claw. Because of this, it also got the nickname devil's toenail.

Growing lines

The shell consisted of two parts and, like modern oysters, is made of calcite. The Gryphaea had a larger curved shell on which the growth lines are visible. The second shell consisted of a closing valve and in between the mollusk lived.

Old medication against rheumatism

These fossils have been found in France, but they occur worldwide. In northeast England it was believed for a long time that the fossils could relieve rheumatism and back pain. They wore the shells around their neck or grinded them to use as medicine.

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