Art. L.—A Description of a Scaphites, found near Cape
[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 11th October, 1886.]
On paying a visit to Wainui, a small township near Cape Turnagain, a short time ago, I found awaiting me at the schoolhouse a fossil, which had been sent there by Mr. John Fallahe, a settler residing in that district. He stated that the fossil had been found by a person named James Busby, in the bed of the Wainui Stream, about 10 or 11 miles from its mouth, and that it was thought to be, by those who had seen it, a fossil lizard. Indeed, it was so described to me by a gentleman in Porongahau several days before I had the opportunity of seeing the specimen. The end of the outer whorl of the fossil has the appearance of a lizard's head, and the inner whorls resemble somewhat the body and tail of the Hippocampus brevirostris, or Sea-horse, which is to be found in most places along the New Zealand coasts after heavy storms. The specimen, however, though having a great likeness to a vertebrated animal, is merely the cast of a shell belonging to the genus Scaphites, a genus closely allied to the fossil Ammonites, which had their chief development towards the close of the mesozoic period.
The fossil is interesting, as being the first of the genus Scaphites found in New Zealand, and Professor Hutton thinks it is the first that has been found in the Southern Hemisphere. Further, it is interesting as settling the question of the identity of the rocks about Cape Turnagain and the valley of the Wainui Stream.
From a recent inspection of the rocks in the district between Kaikora, near Waipawa, and Pourere on the north, and the Wainui Stream on the south, I conclude that the rocks through which the latter stream flows mostly belong to the middle and lower cretaceous, and that the fossil Scaphites comes from the pale-blue and grey chalk which underlies the greensand.
I propose naming the fossil Scaphites hectori, in honour of Dr. Hector, the head of tke Geological Survey of New Zealand.
Key to the description of the fossil after Nicholson:—
Where found: Patangata County, North Island, N.Z.
Locality: Wainui Stream, south of Cape Turnagain.
Date: September, 1886.