'Bearsden Shark' site will give people jaws for thought

A PROJECT aimed at getting Bearsden's very own Jurassic Park off the ground has been given a monster cash boost.

Work will soon begin on a scheme to mark where fearsome prehistoric beasts were discovered along the Manse Burn in Baljaffray.

The fossils — including the famous 'Bearsden shark' — have been hailed as some of the most important ever discovered.

Now, after two years of planning by councillor Amanda Stewart and residents, Tarmac Ltd has given them 5,226 to fund replacement sections of the railing at the site.

The railing will have the words 'Bearsden shark' and a 3D image set into it, visitor signs will be installed as well with information about the shark and other fossils that were found there by a young lad in 1982.

Not realising what a significant find the fossils were the young boy showed them to Stan Wood, who was working at Glasgow's Hunterian Museum at the time, and he organised an excavation.

Paleontologists travelled from across the world to see the fossils, and one of them, Glasgow University's Neil Clark, did his PhD on them.

He said: "The preservation was so good that even muscle blocks and blood vessels were still seen in some of the crustaceans. There was a lot of excitement when the first dinosaur skin was found but these fossils are even older than that."

Rocks found at the site are Namurian, or Carboniferous, in age and several scientific publications have resulted from the finds.

The funding will also pay for a permanent display in Brookwood Library, Bearsden, with a replica of the shark fossil on loan from the Hunterian Museum.

Councillor Amanda Stewart said: "I'm absolutely delighted that Tarmac has given us this funding. This is a very worthy project for the local community and until now it has gone unmarked.

"It will hopefully be used by a lot of school pupils from the area for educational purposes and will encourage people to visit the area.

"It was a very significant find for Bearsden, it is the only fossil of its kind in the world."

Stephen Cowan, Tarmac's estates manager, said: "This is an excellent project and we're really pleased to support it through the Douglasmuir Quarry Community Fund, along with other local community initiatives.

Interest and education in local geology is obviously right up our street."