On some new Varieties of Fossil Alcyonia.
By Thomas Webster, Member of the Geological Society.
To Sir Henry Englefield, Bart.
London, August 2d, 1811.
I Obey with pleasure your request that I would give a particular account of the singular fossil organic body which I observed in the green sandstone stratum under the chalk, during my late examination of the Isle of Wight, and which appears not to have been hitherto described by any naturalist.
Whilst viewing the rocks about Ventnor Cove, and in various parts of the Undercliff, I remarked a great number of small prominences that at first sight appeared like harder pieces of the stone which resisted the effects of the weather after the rest had mouldered away. But examining them more particularly, I observed that most of them had exactly the form of branches of trees; and frequently the resemblance was so complete, that if they had been carved by a sculptor, he could scarcely have made a better imitation. Sometimes they were tolerably sharp and perfect, but most generally were a good deal decayed; and they then bore that sort of likeness to real branches which sculpture would after having been long exposed to the weather. Pl. 27, fig. 1.