Life Through Time – Evolutionary Palaeontology (week 8)

Australopithecus afarensis, better known as Lucy

The slides (colour) for the final week’s class can be downloaded here: 2013_LifeThruTime_Lect8_colour. I will add a black and white version shortly.

The links for the class are as follows:

“Big Bang Big Boom” is a 10-minute animation of the evolution of life, and is well worth a watch. Click here to view it.

Did bird brains help them survive the end-Cretaceous extinction? Read about it here.

(And the new Cretaceous bird fossil from China with possible eggs preserved can be admired here)

What were the multituberculates? Find out here.

The origins of marsupials can be read about here.

The preservation of colour in the fossil record can be read about here.

An overview of the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum and what happened to life on Earth can be read here.

There are various interesting websites on how whales evolved from land mammals, such as this one, this one, and this one.

The Messinian Salinity Crisis can be read about here.

A Smithsonian website on human evolution can be read here.

The Neanderthal In Us, a press release about the Neanderthal genome, suggesting interbreeding with humans, can be downloaded here: The_Neanderthal_in_us

However, the Neanderthal interbreeding theory has been challenged.

Fossils of the Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

A colour pdf of the notes from the class can be downloaded here: 2013_YorksDales_colour. I will try to add a black and white version soon.

Below are a selection of links relevant to Yorkshire Dales geology and fossils…

General geo-info

To start with, if you want a copy of the latest (2013) geological time scale, click here. And if you want to get a copy of the British Geological Survey poster, Climate Through Time, click here.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) provides an interactive geological map of Britain, which enables you to find out what rocks are where. The survey also provides a lexicon to explain the names of the different rock units.

Yorkshire Dales geology and fossils

The North Yorkshire Geodiversity Project has produced a website called Your Dales Rocks, providing information on all sorts of geological aspects of the Dales.

An electronic copy of the geological map of the Dales can be downloaded here: FYD2013_YorksDales_gcl_map

An electronic copy of the geological map of Cracoe can be downloaded here: FYD2013_Cracoe_gcl_map1

A paper by Bond (1949) on the limestones of Cracoe can be read here: FYD2013_Bond1949_Cracoe_limestones, whilst a short summary of the reef knoll SSSI at Swinden Quarry can be downloaded here.

A number of files and links providing information on the geology of the Malham area can be found on the National Park website here. The Field Studies Council (FSC) also provides an electronic guide to Malham geology.

Details of a Cotterdale (Wensleydale) walk on which you might find fossilized ‘Stigmaria‘ roots can be found on the Dalesman website here.

The Craven & Pendle Geological Society provides plenty of useful information on Carboniferous fossils, including a short guide to the ammonoids of Stonehead Beck, Cowling, North Yorkshire.

Crinoid-rich ‘Swaledale stone’ has been quarried for centuries. Some nice images can be seen on the Britannicus Stone website here.

A brief summary of the 1883 paper by James W. Davis, describing the fossil fish found by William Horne in the ‘Red Bed’ limestones of Leyburn can be read here.

Life in the Carboniferous

The excellent Biology of Sharks and Rays website explains here how the Carboniferous was a golden age of (often very weird-looking) sharks.

There is also a good guide to extinct Carboniferous ‘sharks’ on the Bristol University website here.

The Carboniferous coal swamps are well-explained by Ben Slater on the Palaeocast website here.


Life Through Time – Evolutionary Palaeontology (Week 7)

The great Cretaceous ocean

A colour pdf of the notes for week 7’s class can be downloaded here: 2013_LifeThruTime_Lect7_colour. I will try to add a black and white version soon.

Links for week 7’s class are as follows:

Chen & Benton’s (2012) paper on the recovery of life after the end-Permian extinction can be read here: Chen_Benton2012_PT_recovery

Was Nyasasaurus the first dinosaur? Read about it here.

“Fossil eggshells: fragments from the past” can be found here.

My attempt to explain why birds aren’t bird-hipped can be read here.

The Natural History Museum’s online resource on ‘Dino-birds’ can be read here. The paper by Zelenitsky et al. (2012) on feathered dinosaurs can be read here: Zelenitsky_etal2012_dino_feathers

Geerat Vermeij’s (1977) paper on the Mesozoic Marine Revolution can be read here: Vermeij1977_MMR

A detailed website exploring the evolution of seed plants can be accessed here.

A paper by Duchesne and Larson (1989) investigating the role of cellulose in the evolution of plants can be read here: Duchesne_Larson1989_cellulose_plant_evoln


Life Through Time – Evolutionary Palaeontology (Week 6)

Lycopsid tree-fern, Joggins Formation, Nova Scotia.

The pdf of the class 6 lecture notes can be found here: 2013_LifeThruTime_Lect6

The vertebrate palaeontologist Darren Naish has written a series of general interest articles on the origins of tetrapods, including a piece on temnospondyls that can be read here.

Professor Jenny Clack of Cambridge University is one of the world’s leading experts on early tetrapods. Her website, which has lots of useful info, can be found here. Her research also featured on the BBC series Beautiful Minds.

The Joggins Fossil Cliffs of Nova Scotia have yielded all sorts of amazing early terrestrial fossils and are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The website can be found here.

The website for the new TW:eed project (Tetrapod World: early evolution and diversification) can be found here.


Geology of the Yorkshire Coast (Saturday class)

PDF files of the 4 sections of Saturday’s class on the Geology of the Yorkshire Coast can be found here:





The links in each file should be clickable, but I will try to add them here at a later date too.

In the mean time, to help you understand the terms used on your geological maps, you can search the lexicon of abbreviations used by the British Geological Survey here.