Fossils from the Lias of the Yorkshire Coast

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Alan R Lord (Germany)

Palaeontological Association Field Guide to Fossils: Number 15

As the editor of this new publication by the Palaeontological Association (see Palaeontological Association Field Guide to Fossils Number 15: Fossils from the Lias of the Yorkshire Coast), I think that it may be time to explain why it is we produce these guides and why we think it is important. In these days of emphasis on ‘impact’ of scientific publications, involving metrics relating to both authors and journals, the series Palaeontological Association Field Guide to Fossils may seem old-fashioned, even anachronistic. However, I have not spent several years of my life editing two of these volumes to agree with such a view. The Field Guides are important for several good reasons, in order of increasing importance in my opinion:

  1. As a form of outreach to the public, they help the Palaeontological Association fulfil its obligations for charitable status.2. The Field Guides do not set out to be monographic in the sense of covering all aspects and all fossil taxa of the time period or the biota in focus. Such publications are rare nowadays. However, given that the chapters aim to include as many important genera and species as possible, and the authors are all experts in their fields, the books represent important scientific overviews of their subject.
  2. We, the Association, editors and authors, all hope that the Field Guides reach a wide range of readership, stimulate interest in palaeontology and fieldwork, and encourage future generations to enter our exciting field.

I also edited Field Guide 12 on fossils from the Lower Lias of the Dorset coast (Fig. 1), a companion volume to Number 15.

Fig. 1. Field Guide 13. Fossils from the Lower Lias of the Dorset Coast.

In both cases, the challenges were the same – to provide breadth of coverage of the fossils in a relatively small and affordable book. Some chapters are absolutely essential – imagine having a book on Jurassic fossils with no ammonite chapter! So, I want to thank all the authors of Field Guides 13 and 15 for their contributions and support.

Fig. 2. An early Field Gudie: Field Guide 4. Fossils of the Oxford Clay.
Fig. 3. A wholly more ambitious Field guide: Field Guide 14. English Wealden Fossils!

About the editor

Dr Alan Lord graduated from the University of Hull with a BSc and specialised in micropalaeontology, working on Lower Jurassic ostracods for his PhD. Subsequent post-doctoral positions in the University of East Anglia, Aarhus University (DK) and University of Wales Aberystwyth followed, culminating with 33 years in University College London. In retirement, he is based in the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt-am-Main (DE) still working on ostracods.

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