An Introduction To Fossils

The materials used/mentioned in my Hidden Horizons online palaeontology course, An Introduction To Fossils, can be found below.

The specimens in the GeoEdDiversity of Life‘ set are as follows:

Fossil nameFossil typeHigher groupAgeWhere from?
Acervularia luxurans CoralCnidariansSilurianUK
Albertosaurus sp.Dinosaur toothReptilesLate CretaceousCanada
Calymene blumenbachiiTrilobiteArthropodsSilurianDudley, UK
CheirotheriumReptile footprintTrace fossilsTriassicGermany/UK
DiplomystusFishRay-finned fishEoceneWyoming, USA
Echioceras quenstedtiAmmoniteMolluscsEarly JurassicDorset, UK
Gissocrinus typusCrinoid (sea lily)EchinodermsSilurianUK
Hefriga serrataShrimpArthropodsLate JurassicGermany
Ichthyosaurus sp.Ichthyosaur toothMarine reptilesEarly JurassicUK
Neuropteris scheuchzeriPlantPteridospermsCarboniferousIllinois, USA
Otodus obliquusShark toothCartilaginous fishEoceneKent, UK
Phymosoma koenigiEchinoid (sea urchin)EchinodermsCretaceousKent, UK
Basic classification of fossil specimens in GeoEd ‘Diversity of Life’ set.

Slides for class 3 (PowerPoint)

Slides for class 3 (pdf)

Did sharks evolve from a bony fish? (Guardian article, based on this scientific paper by Martin Brazeau and colleagues)

Fossil fish of Caithness – if you’re ever in north-east Scotland, go fishing!

Fossil Focus: Ichthyosaurs

Why are birds the only surviving dinosaurs? (NHM article)

Steno‘s 1667 diagram interpreting glossopetrae as fossil shark teeth.

Slides for class 2 (PowerPoint)

Slides for class 2 (pdf)

I talked about ammonite shells having distinctive sutures. Here is a nice example from the Middle Jurassic of Ravenscar, North Yorkshire:

If the tremendous trilobites caught your fancy, meanwhile, you can sign up for our “Trilobites: An Introduction” online class (December 2020) here!

GeoEd Trilobite Collection (13 handmade replica trilobite fossils)

Slides from class 1 (PowerPoint)

Slides from class 1 (pdf)

Geological timescale (from the International Commission on Stratigraphy)

Diversity of life (biology introduction)

Animal evolution (paper by Telford and colleague, 2015)

If you’re out and about hunting fossils in the UK, the Natural History Museum’s Fossil Explorer app is very useful. The NHM also have plenty of fantastic fossil information more generally, too.

For all the latest information on activities online or in the Fossil Shop, please keep an eye on the Hidden Horizons website!

And to find other fossily teaching resources here on fossilhub, please click on the fossils hashtag.

Chalking With Dinosaurs, part 5

After an interval of many months, I’ve been prompted to finally produce a fifth part of Chalking With Dinosaurs, featuring me making footprints in the sands of Scarborough’s South Bay, and then hunting dinosaur footprints in the rocks of the South Cliff:

The video features as part of my live ‘Chalking With Dinosaurs’ talks at the Lyme Regis Virtual Fossil Festival and the Geologists Association’s Virtual Festival of Geology.

Should you wish to print out a copy of the CWD handout that features at the end of the video, you can download it here:

Fossils of the Yorkshire Coast

The PowerPoint slides for my class on February 6th can be downloaded here: 2016_FossilsYorksCoast_SML

Useful links

Fossil hunting in North Yorkshire (UK Fossils Network guide)

Lower Jurassic of Yorkshire (Geological Conservation Review guide)

Middle Jurassic of Yorkshire (Geological Conservation Review guide)

Upper Jurassic of Yorkshire (Geological Conservation Review guide)

Yorkshire’s Jurassic Park (National Trust)

Fossils & Geology (Whitby Museum)

Fossils of the Whitby Coast: A Photographic Guide (Dean M. Lomax)

Geology & Palaeontology of Staithes (Ian M. West, Southampton University)

Geological History of Britain (2015)

William Smith’s 1815 geological map of England and Wales.

The PowerPoint slides for my 2015 one-day course on the Geological History of Britain can be downloaded here:

1. Introduction: 2015_GHB_Part1

2. Cainozoic: 2015_GHB_Part2

3. Mesozoic: 2015_GHB_Part3

4. Palaeozoic: 2015_GHB_Part4

5. Proterozoic & Archaean: 2015_GHB_Part5

To view the files I produced for my 2012 evening class on the Geological History of Britain, which provide more detail on many of the topics introduced here, click the ‘GHB’ tab below this post, or follow this link: http://fossilhub.org/?tag=ghb.

To obtain a copy of the British Geological Survey’s ‘Climate Through Time’ poster, follow this link: http://www.bgs.ac.uk/discoveringGeology/climateChange/climateThroughTime.html.

To view the figures from the Geological History of Britain and Ireland book (Woodcock and Strachan 2012), follow this link: http://bcs.wiley.com/he-bcs/Books?action=index&bcsId=7187&itemId=1405193824.

To view the photos and figures from the Geological Conservation Review series of books on British geology, follow this link: http://www.thegcr.org.uk/ImageBank.cfm.

An Introduction to Fossils

KimmClay_ammo

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).

Trilobites.info – 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.

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

 

An Introduction to Geology: 2014

Week 9. Fossils.

How to tell bone from stone: Smithsonian magazine article by Brian Switek.

The Fossil Record of Cricket (an article I wrote for ESPN Cricinfo). I later wrote another on the evolution of fast throwing.

 

Weeks 6. & 7. TECTONICS

The day the Earth moved – very interesting article in Cosmos magazine describing the revolutionary times of 1963, when tectonic theory came to the fore.

The Moho (or, more properly, the Mohorovičić Discontinuity) is the boundary between the crust and the mantle. It is not the same as the boundary between the lithosphere and aesthenosphere, because the lithosphere includes the solid upper mantle.

Much of the lower mantle is thought to be composed of a (newly named) mineral called bridgmanite.

There is also new evidence, including a recently discovered terrestrial sample of a mineral called ringwoodite, that the lower mantle (410 to 660 km below the surface) has considerable volumes of water trapped in it.

Both bridgmanite and ringwoodite are varieties of olivine, as explained in this helpful article.

 

Week 5. A BIT MORE TIME

Faunal correlation (from Wikimedia Commons)

Here are a few 2014 additions to all the existing ‘IntroGeol’ files already on the site, as follows:

Lecture notes for Class 5 “A Bit More Time”

2014_IntroGeol_Lect5 (PowerPoint)

The Rock Cycle

An excellent, rather more detailed version of the rock cycle, illustrating the subdivisions of the different sections, can be seen on the Geology Cafe website here.

Stratigraphy

The 2014 edition of the geological time scale, produced by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) can be downloaded here.

If you want details of where in the world any of the Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs) are, Wikipedia provides a pretty comprehensive list here. It is based on the International Commission on Stratigraphy’s list, which can be found here.

For more information on clay minerals, also known as sheet silicates, also known as phyllosilicates (literally ‘leaf silicates’, deriving from the same Greek origin as ‘filo’ pastry), these course notes by Prof. Stephen Nelson of Tulane University are very helpful.

An excellent Conversation article on why the discovery of clay minerals on Mars is rather important.

A Very Short History of the Earth

Time Spiral (from Wikimedia Commons)

ChronoZoom – an interactive time scale showing the age of life, the universe and everything (if your computer has the right browser!).

Stratigraphy

ICS – The International Commission on Stratigraphy (the latest geological timescale can be found here).

William Smith and biostratigraphy (part of a University of California Berkeley series on the history of evolutionary thought).

John Phillips – the Time Lord of York (my article for York Mix).

Absolute dating

A quick introduction to radiometric dating (University of California Berkeley).

How to calculate the age of meteorites (or anything else for that matter).

Rock Around The Clock (Daily Telegraph article on the 4.4 billion year-old zircon crystal from Australia). The scientific paper can be found here.

Fossils & Extinction

From soup to cells (Berkeley introduction to the origins of life on Earth).

Solving Darwin’s Dilemma – Precambrian rocks really do contain abundant fossils (report of 2009 study by scientists at Oxford University).

First Life – David Attenborough tackles the origins of life, including the Precambrian fossils found near his childhood home in Leicester.

Mass extinctions (NHM guide to the “Big Five”). If you fancy a “Big Five” walking tour of London, you can follow my not entirely serious guide.

Prehistoric fossil collectors (article from the Geological Society).

How will humans go extinct? (article on BBC News, 24 April 2013).

Hidden Horizons website (Scarborough-based company run by Will Watts, offering Geology & Natural History Education and Events. Look out for information on the upcoming Yorkshire Fossil Festival).

 

An Introduction to Geology: 8

Fossils & Palaeontology

The Walcotts investigating the Burgess Shale (from Wikimedia Commons)

Lecture slides: 2013_IntroGeol_fossils_Lect8 (pdf) or 2013_IntroGeol_fossils_Lect8_SML (ppt)

3D Fossils (new project led by the British Geological Survey)

British Fossils (book by Peter Doyle)

St Hilda’s ammonite, Hildoceras bifrons (NHM website)

The Palaeontological Association (UK-based organization promoting palaeontological science)

Palaeontology Online (articles about the cutting edge of fossil research, written by palaeontologists)

Palaeocast (Palaeontology podcasts and photos on a wide variety of topics)

Fossil evidence of early life: Oldest_fossil_evidence_PaleoSoc (a short guide by the Paleontological Society)

The fossil record of cyanobacteria (UCMP website)

The earliest evidence of life (Phys.org article). If you want the full scientific version, it can be found here: 3.48 billion year-old microbially induced sedimentary structures.

Tracking Ancient Life

TRACE FOSSILS

Chondrites (from Wikimedia Commons)

The lecture presentation: 2013_TrackingAncientLife_SML

Charles Darwin – worms and vegetable mould (from Darwin Online)

Darwin’s wormstone at Down House, Kent.

Phil Manning’s Dinosaur CSI website.

An amazing dinosaur trackway site in Bolivia.

Dinosaur speed calculator (from the University of Sheffield)

Why that previous theory might be wrong! (from Heinrich Mallison, Berlin)

How fast did ancient people run? (My blog post on interpreting fossil trackways)

The deep sea animals that live in trees (National Geographic article about boring marine creatures).