An Introduction to Fossils


Notes (pdf) for my University of York CLL class “An Introduction to Fossils” on Nov. 29th: 2014_Intro_Fossils

Useful links

The challenges of taxonomy, or why reptiles don’t exist any more (article from The Conversation). – a marvellous and comprehensive website devoted to understanding trilobites.

The Burgess Shale – Cambrian lagerstatte website from the Royal Ontario Museum (including a Virtual Sea Odyssey).

Primeval Predators – the plastic version of the Burgess Shale!

The Palaeontological Association – promoting palaeontology (also with a Facebook page and a Twitter account).

The Micropalaeontological Society – for lovers of smaller fossils.


(N. B. Clicking the tag ‘fossils‘ will also bring up plenty of other links and resources on this website).


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.

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