Fossil collections in this region have been built up through research and industry. The largest, at the University of Edinburgh, holds fossils representing an impressive list of important historic localities.
At the Cockburn Museum these illustrate the diversity of Silurian life at Lesmahagow (fish, sea scorpions), Lower Devonian of Angus (plants, fish and sea scorpions) and Middle Devonian of northeast Scotland (fish).
The Natural History Collections on display compare modern life to their ancient, fossilised ancestors. Mastodon teeth and cave deposits comprising fragments of deer bones from France form the fossil collections in the Anatomical Museum.
Elsewhere, Carboniferous fossils include plants that lined swampy lagoons, large jaws and teeth of predatory fish several metres long and small crustaceans from the Granton and Gullane Shrimp beds, found at Haddington Museum Headquarters and Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Livingston.