I sent some photos of this thought-provoking fossil pictured below I found from the Bembridge marls in Hamstead on the Isle of Wight to Alan Morton. Alan runs the very informative website http://www.dmap.co.uk/fossils/index.htm which has a Collection of Eocene and Oligocene Fossils.
This was his much needed reply quoted below.
“Thanks for sending those images.
I must start by saying that I do not know what these objects are. I come across similar objects frequently whilst sorting through samples of the Bembridge Marls, looking for rare species of mollusc. I put these bony objects aside, hoping that one day I shall be in contact with someone who can shed more light on them. There is one of my specimens of a similar object to yours on the website http://www.dmap.co.uk/fossils/index.htm and pictured below as “Unidentified 3.4mm” placed between the reptile remains and mammal remains in the table of images.
I think that the only thing we can really rule out is mammal. You may be right in thinking they are fish, but fish bones are usually rather thin and laminated or ‘flaky’, whereas these objects seem rather more solid, and usually very black, smooth and shiny on their surfaces. I don’t think we can at this stage rule out reptile, or even amphibian. I do wonder whether they might be some sort of dermal bony protective plates of some sort. They don’t look right to me for dental plates.
Anyway, I’d love to know what they are, and I would then put some more examples on the website to help others with their ids, so if you are able to make any further progress with them, do let me know.
Further and all suggestions are most welcome.