Skip Navigation or Skip to Content

Fossil Motherlodes

Discoveries of occurrences of exceptionally preserved fossils.

Discoveries of occurrences of exceptionally preserved fossils.

19 October, 2017 

Evolutionary biologists have long been concerned by the incompleteness of the fossil record. Fortunately, from time to time, discoveries of occurrences of exceptionally preserved fossils, known as conservation Lagerstätten (from the German word Lagerstätte – essentially meaning motherlode) shed much new light on the past diversity of life. A recently published book, Terrestrial Conservation Lagerstätten: Windows into the Evolution of Life on Land edited by Nick Fraser (National Museums Scotland) and Hans-Dieter Sues (Smithsonian Institution), brings together for the first time reviews of the world’s most significant lagerstätten documenting terrestrial animals and plants.

Written by international experts, the nine separate localities include two from Scotland, the famous Rhynie chert documenting the earliest-known ecosystem of terrestrial animals and plants, and East Kirkton Quarry in West Lothian. East Kirkton is famous for its diversity of amphibians as well as “Lizzie” (Westlothiana lizziae), long regarded as one of the oldest reptiles in the world.

Terrestrial Conservation Lagerstatten: Windows into the Evolution of Life on Land

Back to Natural Sciences news
Previous story Next story

Latest News

Diverse deep-water brachiopods
This latest paper highlights the amazing geographic dispersal of linguliform taxa.
Find out more
Skye high: Jurassic pterosaur discovery
The world’s largest Jurassic pterosaur, unearthed on a Scottish island, has been added to the National Museums Scotland's collection.
Find out more
An emperor's eggstraordinary egg
A new acquisition highlighting the way our collections continue to document the impact of rapid environmental change.
Find out more
Understanding ecosystems, protecting nature
National Museums Scotland's involvement in an initiative aiming to read complete genomes of all species living in Britain and Ireland.
Find out more
An unexpected assemblage of brachiopods
New paper contributes to the knowledge of marine invertebrate faunas in the early Ordovician.
Find out more
Back to top