Tutor: Mike Horne FGS 

for the Centre for Life Long Learning

University of Hull

This is a practical course introducing the major groups of fossils, paying particular attention to those that can be found in Eastern England. We will investigate what fossils can tell us about ancient environments and the story of evolution. Students will use the fossils in the University's Collection and borrow a set of fossils for home study.

How fossils are formed.
The classification of fossil and living organisms.
Physiology of the major groups and how this can enable us to reconstruct past environments.
We will study bivalves, brachiopods, ammonites, belemnites, echinoids, trace fossils and perhaps other groups if time permits.
Health and safety and the care of specimens will also be introduced in the course. Where to find fossils in East Yorkshire.
If time permits we may also study the evolution of some of the groups of fossils and extinction events.

This course is for those interested in Earth Sciences, evolution and collecting fossils. It offers techniques that they would not normally encounter, but would be able to continue as an amateur after the course.
No previous experience or knowledge is assumed, but those with experience may be able to undertake more detailed laboratory work, in an area of study that interests them, after discussion with the tutor.

We studied specimens in the University collection and borrowed a set of specimens for study at home. Students were asked to produce illustrated notes based on their practical work for assessment. A variety of books were available for loan from the book box. The full course notes were also available on CD-ROM.

course notes

key words for describing fossils

naming fossils


Pebbles on Holderness Beaches

pictures of fossils


suggested further reading -

Black R - Elements of palaeontology.

British Geological Survey - Discovering Fossils Series - Bivalves; Crinoids; Plants; Fish; Echinoids, Belemnites.

British Museum (Natural Hstory) - British Cainozoic Fossils

British Museum (Natural Hstory) - British Mesoozoic Fossils

British Museum (Natural Hstory) - British Palaeozoic Fossils

Donovon S K 2003. Fossils explained 41 - Taphonomy. Geology Today 18, 226-231.

Fortey R 2000. Trilobites! Eyewitness to Evolution. Harper Collins, London. 269pp.

Gould S J, 1991. Wonderful Life. Penguin Books. isbn 0140133801. 347pp.

Monks N & P Palmer 2002. Ammonites. Natural History Musem, London,159pp. isbn 0565091697.

Murray J (ed) 1985 - Atlas of invertebrate macrofossils. Longman, Harlow. 241 pp.

Nield E W - Drawing and Understanding Fossils.

Open Univeristy - Geology - Block 5 - Fossils

Owen & Smith 2002 - Fossils of the Chalk (2nd Edn)

Parker S 2009. The Illustrated Guide to Fossils of the World. Southwater Books, London. 160pp.

Schindewolf O H (transl. J Shaefer) 1993. Basic questions in palaeontology. The University of Chicago Press.467pp & 32 pl. isbn 0226738353. library - 560 dc20 or QE761.S3413

Seldon P & J Nudds, 2004. Evolution of fossil ecosystems. Manson Publishing, London. 160pp.

Shrock R R & W H Twenhofel, 1953. Principles of invertebrate paleontology. (2nd edn) McGraw Hill, London. 816pp.

British Geological Survey - "Discovering Geology" series == Ammonites, Belemnites, Bivalves, Crinoids, Echinoids, Fish, Plants.

Natural History Museum - British Mesozoic Fossils, British Palaeozoic Fossils and British Caenozoic Fossils.


  copyright Mike Horne - 2019

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