Mike Horne FGS

Fossils Through the Microscope

tutor - Mike Horne F.G.S.

University of Hull - Centre for Lifelong Learning

Further information:

Small fossils are very common and very beautiful. Here is your chance to find them and study them using microscopes at the University.


What are microfossils ?
How to collect microfossils
Safety in the field
Preparation of sediment samples for extraction of microfossils
Safety in preparation work
'Picking' microfossils
Two major groups of microfossils - Foraminifera and Ostracods.
The use of microfossils in biostratigraphy and palaeoecology.
Ideas for further study.

No fieldwork is planned.

This course is for those interested in Earth Sciences, Natural Sciences, evolution, microsopy and 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; the tutor will give training required for these specialised (but not difficult) techniques. 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.

Students may study samples that they have collected and processed themselves if they prefer (you are welcome to contact the tutor before the course for advice).

Students will need to provide a 'picking' brush (a very fine, high quality paint brush as advised by the tutor) and make their own picking tray. Students will be asked to produce illustrated notes based on their practical work and a written report on an aspect of micropalaeontology for assessment.

Items required for practical work. (how to make a "picking tray")

The course consisted of ten Wednesday evening meetings from 7-30pm until 9-30pm at the University of Hull, Department of Geography. The course was run in Spring 2001, Spring 2004, Spring 2007 and Spring 2010.

Background reading -

There are very few accessible publications available about microfssils. There is only one book that gives a good undergraduate level introduction. There are some chapters in other palaeontology books. There are several research level journals dedicated to different groups of microfossils and papers in other palaeontology or stratigrapy based journals. On the world wide web a search will reveal:- several encyclopedia type pages with some bare details about microfossils or microfossil groups, a few university course notes, syllabuses for some UK University courses, some personal home pages with pictures, some lists of taxonomic groups or reference collections in museums or Universities.

Recommended reading : Microfossils by Armstrong and Brasier (2004) or Microfossils (1st edn) by Martin Brasier (out of print). This was available for loan from the "book box".

some further reading :-

Armstrong H A & M D Brasier. 2005. Microfossils (2nd Edn) Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. 296pp. isbn 0632052791

Bate R & Robinson E (eds) 1978. A Stratigraphic index of British Ostracoda. Geological Journal Special Issue no. 8. Seal House Press, Liverpool. 538 pp.

British Geological Survey - "Discovering Geology" series = Ostracods and Foraminifera.

Green, O R 2001. A manual of practical laboratory and field techniques in palaeobiology. Kluwer Academic Publishers, London. 538pp.

Griffiths H I & J A Holmes 2000. Non-marine ostracods and Quaternary palaeoenvironments. Quaternary Reasearch Asscosiation Technical Guide no 8. 179pp

Haq B U & A Boersma (eds)1978 Introduction to Marine Micropalaeontology. Elsevier, Netherlands 376 pp. (reprinted 1998)

Jenkins D G & J W Murray (eds) 1981. Stratigraphical atlas of fossil foraminifera. Ellis Horwood Ltd, Chichester for the British Micropalaeontological Socety. 310pp.

Jones D J, 1956 - . Introduction to Microfossils, Hafner Publishing Co, New York and London. 406pp reprinted 1969

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

Swift A & D M Martill (eds) 1999. Fossils of the Penarth Group. The Palaeontological Association - field guide to fossils no. 9. 312pp. [has a chapters on Rhaetic forams, ostracods and fish]

Click Here for more about microfossils.

naming fossils

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copyright Mike Horne - March 2019

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