The water was not fully fresh like a lake, nor fully salt like the ocean – rather it would be more like the Florida Everglades of today. The climate was tropical with primitive forests and fetid swamps.
Blue Beach is what we call a ‘classic’ fossil site with its diverse vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and traces. What makes it so special is the remarkable age of 350-million years ago (mya.), right in the middle of an enigma that has been named “Romer’s Gap”, considered by many to be Evolution’s Greatest Mystery.
Being a classic vertebrate locality, Blue Beach is known to contain all the typical elements of the later Carboniferous tetrapod and fish faunas. These are summarized below. For greater detail, choose by clicking on the sections above.
Tetrapods left both their abundant footprints (traces) and rare bony remains here. At least five species were present. These are all are new to science. These are stem tetrapods, including temnospondyls, whatcheeriids, anthracosaurs, with possibly the last known relict of an acanthostegid-grade tetrapod.
Lobe-finned Fishes (Sarcopterygii) include a very abundant rhizodontid (Letognathus) and rare lungfishes (?Ctenodus). The rhizodont grew up to five meters long.
Small ray-finned Fishes known as palaeoniscoids are very common finds and show that the group had attained a remarkable diversity during the Early Carboniferous.
Primitive shark-like Creatures known as the acanthodians (gyracanthids, climatiids, acanthodiids) and and at least one true shark (Ctenacanthus) were also abundant. Usually fairly small, one of these grew up to five meters long.