Encrinus liliiformis: A crinoid from the Triassic that made a career for itself

Jens Lehmann (Germany). Animals – not plants Despite their common name ‘sea lilies’, crinoids are animals but not plants, although they look like a flower (Fig. 1). They are related to the sea urchins, sea cucumbers and starfish, groups that are unified as echinoderms (see, for example, Broadhead and Waters,… … Read More

Caught between two mass extinctions: The rise and fall of Dicroidium

Chris Mays and Stephen McLoughlin (Sweden). In the aftermath of Earth’s greatest biotic crisis 251.9 million years ago – the end-Permian mass extinction – a group of plants arose that would come to dominate the flora of the Southern Hemisphere. Recovery of the vegetation from the end-Permian crisis was slow; … Read More

How to recognise a pistol shrimp in the fossil record

Matúš Hyžný (Slovakia), Andreas Kroh (Austria), Alexander Ziegler (Germany) and John WM Jagt (The Netherlands). Alpheid shrimps, colloquially referred to as “pistol shrimps”, exhibit a remarkable anatomical adaptation. These tiny marine crustaceans use their enlarged and highly modified claw to ‘shoot’ at their prey – hence their name. It is … Read More

Duria Antiquior: A nineteenth-century forerunner of palaeoart

Steven Wade Veatch (USA). In a breath of inspiration in 1830, English geologist, Henry De la Beche (1796–1855), while exploring new intellectual territories in the emerging fields of palaeontology, painted Duria Antiquior (meaning “a more ancient Dorset”), a representation of a prehistoric Dorset coast. De la Beche’s work was ground … Read More

Concretions in sandstones of the Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Mark Wilkinson (UK). Concretions are a common feature in many sedimentary rocks, yet they seem sometimes to be misunderstood. So, how do concretions form? As well-studied examples, let’s look at the ones found in some of the sandstones of the Scottish Inner Hebrides, notably the islands of Eigg and Skye. … Read More

Urban geology: A failed example of gabions as false urban geology from the Netherlands

Stephen K Donovan (The Netherlands). The provinces of Noord and Zuid Holland, including much of the Dutch North Sea coast and adjacent inland areas, are devoid of rocky exposures. In a region of flat-lying Pleistocene siliciclastic successions (Burck et al, 1956), there are no quarries, cliffs or other man-made or … Read More

Prominent figures of the 1800s who gave rise to vertebrate palaeontology

Megan Jacobs (UK). For centuries, the creatures of the past, from the terrifying theropod dinosaurs to the tiny early mammals, have captured the imaginations of millions. However, the people who put those beasts into the limelight are rarely acknowledged for their work and, in many cases, remain unknown. So here … Read More

Carbonate platforms and coral reefs: The Coralline Oolite Formation of the Yorkshire Upper Jurassic – a prime source of palaeontological information

Keith Eastwood (UK). The Malton Oolite Member of the Coralline Oolite Formation (Corallian Group), as exposed in the Betton Farm South Quarry (TA00158555) at East Ayton, near Scarborough (Fig. 1), provides a wealth of fascinating palaeontological and sedimentological information. Examination of outcrops within this small quarry enables the geologist to … Read More

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Using geology to fight climate change

Mark Wilkinson (UK). Practically everyone has an opinion on climate change by now, although for the vast majority of scientists, the weight of evidence is overwhelming – emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing climate change, sometimes referred to as global warming. One possible technology for fighting … Read More

Other mass extinctions

Neal Monks (UK). The extinctions at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary make up what is probably the most famous geological event in popular culture. This is the point when the great reptiles that characterise the Mesozoic went extinct. Alongside the dinosaurs, the giant marine reptiles died out too, as did the … Read More