Book review: Palaeontological Association Field Guide to Fossils Number 15: Fossils from the Lias of the Yorkshire Coast, edited by Alan Lord

Jon Trevelyan (UK)

So, Palass has published another of its excellent field guides, this time to the fossils from the Lias of the Yorkshire coast. Readers of this magazine will know that I have a soft spot for these guides and I have reviewed several in the past. As a collector myself, the amount of information about the relevant fossils is second to none, with black and white photos and descriptions of virtually everything the amateur or professional palaeontologist might need.

This guide covers the marine sediments seen in the cliffs and scars of the Yorkshire coast, which form the thickest exposed sequence of the Lias (Lower Jurassic) in the UK. As anyone who has collected there will know (myself included), the rocks are extremely fossiliferous. They have also been studied since the nineteenth century, and the sedimentary sequence is important, as it provides information on the stratigraphy of the oil producing North Sea basins. It also contains the Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Pleinsbachian Stage of the Lower Jurassic.

Each chapter is written by different experts in their fields, including frequent contributor to this magazine – Paul Taylor – who revisits (with Consuelo Sendino) one of his favourite topics – the folklore of fossils. In addition, there are chapters on the geologists who have worked the area, conserving the Lias of the Yorkshire coast and its stratigraphy. Fossil subjects include all the usual suspects, that is, all the major marine fossils groups, including ammonites, nautiloids, belemnites, bivalves, gastropods, brachiopods, echinoderms, insects, decapods, microfossils, plants, bony fishes, pterosaurs, crocodylomorphs, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and dinosaurs. The latter is also written by a frequent contributor to this magazine – Dean Lomax – giving a somewhat familiar feel to the book.

My understanding is that Palass will shortly publish a guide to the Kimmeridge Clay, so keep an eye out for what is likely to be another excellent guide.

Alan Lord, who edited this guide, discusses what he thinks is important about the Palass guides (including this one in his article: Fossils from the Lias of the Yorkshire Coast.

Palaeontological Association Field Guide to Fossils Number 15: Fossils from the Lias of the Yorkshire Coast, edited by Alan Lord, The Palaeontological Association (2019), London. 178 pages, Softback, ISBN: 978-0-901702-47-0

Available from UKGE: Fossils from the Lias of the Yorkshire Coast

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