Fossils & Palaeoenvironments

This November – on Saturday 11th and 18th – I am teaching a two-part online course for the University of York Centre for Lifelong Learning. Fossils & Palaeoenvironments will explain what fossils are, how we’ve worked this out, and how we use fossils to understand ancient environments.

Saturday 11th November will be the Fossils day, introducing fossils, palaeontological techniques, and the development of the science. Most life on Earth is in the oceans, so most of the fossils we’ll discuss are marine, but I’ll give an overview of fossil plants and land animals too.

Saturday 18th November will be the Palaeoenvironments day, where we’ll look at some classic case studies, where palaeontologists have used fossil evidence to figure out how life on Earth worked, millions of years ago. These range from the 19th Century pioneers who deduced that Yorkshire was once home to hyaenas, to the 21st Century trailblazers revolutionizing our understanding of the ocean’s earliest ecosystems.

Palaeo-artist James McKay’s reconstruction of North Yorkshire, 120,000 years ago.

Each class is delivered on Zoom, from 2pm to 5.15pm, and no palaeontological qualifications are required, although an understanding of Earth science would be useful. You can book your place on the course here, using the university’s online store.

Earth scientist in York, fossilist across Yorkshire. Co-director of the Yorkshire Fossil Festival and palaeontologist for hire. Can be found twittering, facebooking, and instagramming as @fossiliam.