A to Z Challenge: F is for Festilyria and Fossils

Festilyria Festiva …Of all the Arabian shells this is my absolute favorite. 

Found only in the Arabian region on Masirah island, Oman, the Festilyria Festiva volute is beautifully shaped and coloured with delicate, but striking markings. Two colorways exist, but I have only ever found one colour combination. Visiting the island, initially broken pieces were my only find, but one lucky day wandering along a new empty beach,  I found two perfect specimens lying in the sand waiting for me.

Every time I revisit the island, this beach always provides me with a Festilyria. Off this shore must be a perfect habitat for the species, I have never found them anywhere else on the island.. Their other habitat is off Somalia but as I am unlikely to visit either, my Masirah Festilyria take pride of place…

I cannot leave the F letter without including Fossils; the sea-shore link is that the ones I have found are shell fossils. I am always awed by museum exhibits of fossils, be it plant or animal. The process of natural preservation throughout the millenniums fascinates me.

I was in friend’s house and I spied the most amazing shell fossil on her shelf, kindly a GPS setting was given to me, for a  remote road, many kilometres inland in Dhofar, S.Oman.

Eventually I made it to southern part of Oman and drove to the GPS setting, inland along 60 kilometres of rutted gravel and dirt track roads, one of the last natural habitat for the Arabian leopard, giving you an idea of the sort of environment.

At the GPS point, a grader has created a huge mound of rocks and dirt to clear the gravel track for access, this is a wild place.We are at 807 metres above sea level here (2680.45 feet).

Heading over to the mound, it was studded with huge fossil shells. I spent a long while in 45 degree heat digging through the rubble mountain, as you can imagine some came home with me, but it led me into a diversification of my sea shore interest. You may well understand from the photos, why next winter I will be fossil hunting…

Recently in Sharjah Natural History museum I spotted some fossils, appearing to be similar. There were marked as Paleogene, found at Jebel Hafit mountain.


When I looked up Paleogene on Wiki I find that

“the Paleogene ( informally Lower Tertiary) is a geologic period and system that began 66 and ended 23.03 million years ago and comprises the first part of the Cenozoic Era.Lasting 43 million years, the Paleogene is most notable as being the time in which mammals evolved from relatively small, simple forms into a large group of diverse animals in the wake of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event that ended the preceding Cretaceous Period”.

I am awed that in a pile of rubble in lonely wastes I have found fossils that are possibly part of the evolution process.

If there are any fossil hunters reading this, kindly comment, I would so love to know more…

5 comments on “A to Z Challenge: F is for Festilyria and Fossils

  1. These are just grand! The basket of fossils reminds me of a bread/rolls basket. (I must be hungry this morning.) I am so glad to visit your site…and I LOVE the use of the Word F in the A-Z. 🙂


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