EGU Blogs

You don’t need to be a Palaeontologist to hunt fossils – they’re right here in London!

If this image below is your idea of fossil hunting, you wouldn’t be far off from the reality. Typically, you have to go to a coastline, quarry, or vast expanse of desert to track anything down.

Source: UKGE

I currently live in London, so was a bit bewildered when a movie made by Nick Crumpton and starring Imperial College’s own Issy Gilbert (a member of my research group!) showcased the various fossil localities smack bang in the middle of the city!

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If you live in London, or ever happen to be in the area, give in to your curiosity and check them out! I don’t recommend smashing things apart with gusto in a rock hammer-wielding frenzy, but do have a look, and catch a glimpse of ancient life encased within an urban environment. It’s the ultimate juxtaposition!

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Jon began university life as a geologist, followed by a treacherous leap into the life sciences. He spent several years at Imperial College London, investigating the extinction and biodiversity patterns of Mesozoic tetrapods – anything with four legs or flippers – to discover whether or not there is evidence for a ‘hidden’ mass extinction 145 million years ago. Alongside this, Jon researched the origins and evolution of ‘dwarf’ crocodiles called atoposaurids. Prior to this, there was a brief interlude were Jon was immersed in the world of science policy and communication, which greatly shaped his views on the broader role that science can play, and in particular, the current ‘open’ debate. Jon tragically passed away in 2020.