Book review: A Fossil Guide to the East Yorkshire Coast (2nd edition), by Samuel McKie

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Jon Trevelyan (UK)

In this book, Samuel McKie has produced a guide to the most common fossils that can be found at different sites along the Yorkshire coast. And, as he says, it is written by an amateur for amateurs. (See also, the article, Fossil hunter’s guide to the Yorkshire coast by the author.)

At the moment, it is set out in black and white, but he is hoping to raise enough money for a full-colour print run.

The guide is set out in four parts: (i) a discussion on fossil types, (ii) fossils and fossil sites, (iii) fossil identification, and (iv) a postscript covering ethics and guidelines among other things. The section on fossil types discusses, in broad terms, the characteristics of the animal type (for example, belemnites, crinoids, bivalves and so on).

Access to, and the geology of, the fossil sites are briefly covered, these consisting of the famous locations of Speeton, Flamborough Head, Sewerby Cliffs, and Fraisthorpe and Holderness. It has many photographic illustrations and other information to help identify the fossils that the author thinks an amateur collector is most likely to find, but only identifies the fossils at the level of genus. However, this is often sufficient for most casual collectors, so probably is not a problem (particularly, if it helps point the amateur in the right direction for a more detailed identification). It also contains further information about the original animal, such as the habitat it lived in, its distribution and its diet.

The guide is clearly a work in progress and there are some errors in the captions (for example, Fig. 1.0 and the top picture on page 77 are the same, but identify different ammonites, and it is not clear whether Fig 3.7 is an example of Seliscothon – that caption says it probably isn’t – given that the picture on page 87 states that it is). However, I understand these issues will be ironed out very soon. In fact, I suspect that the more people who get copies of this guide (see below) and then keep in contact with the author, the better it will get through a cooperative amateur spirit.

The book is currently available (as of 22 July 2012) from the Stone Shop (THE STONE SHOP, 11 Queen Street, Bridlington, YO15 2SF) just North of the Harbour

UKGE Code: BK0019 £19.00 free delivery. A4 Mono printed

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