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Fossil Tales

A small display that brought together a range of fossils from National Museums Scotland's collection to explore some of the myths and early uses for fossils.
Exhibition information


7 April - 4 June 2017


National Museum of Scotland, Exhibition Gallery 3, Level 1, Grand Gallery

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Fossil tales and stories are as diverse as the civilisations that created them, legends grew up around these unexplained objects as a way to make sense of their origin and identity.

Palaeontology, the study of fossils, is a relatively new science. Fossils, the remains of once living plants or animals, can help us understand how some forms of live evolved and others became extinct. Some ancient scholars had realised the true nature of fossils, but it was not not until the 1700s that Europeans began to collect and classify fossils in a scientific manner. Before then fossils had been used and interpreted in many different ways by many different cultures.

  • Fossil-echinoid,-Cidaris-glandaria-from-the-Jurassic-of-Lebanon.jpg

    Cidaris glandaria, Lebanon

  • Superstition_5_G_1911_5_11093_Trigonia_1-(2)_2.jpg

    Trigonia incurva, Jurassic, Swindon, Wiltshire

  • MythNummulites1500.jpg

    Nummulites sp, Great Pyramid Giza

  • Crinoid-columnals_700web.jpg

    Crinoid columnals, Carboniferous, No locality

  • Hildoceras-sp_700web.jpg

    Hildoceras sp, Jurassic, No locality

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