This National Museums Scotland Touring Exhibition which explored how life on earth moved from water onto land 360-345 million years ago. The tour has now ended.


Discover how life on earth moved from water onto land 360–345 million years ago through ground-breaking discoveries made in Scotland.

Until recently no fossil evidence had been found to explain how vertebrate life stepped from water to land, leading to a gap in our scientific knowledge of evolution. Known as Romer’s Gap, this mystery has been challenging palaeontologists for generations. 

In summer 2015, researchers from National Museums Scotland and institutions around the country carried out excavations in Scotland. Their extraordinary discoveries offer unique insights into an ecosystem that existed millions of years ago. After years of searching, the answers to the mystery of Romer’s Gap have finally begun to be unearthed.

Fossil of 'ribbo' in two parts

Above: Fossil of Ribbo collected from a site in the Whiteadder Water.

In Fossil Hunters, meet some of the earliest creatures to inhabit land, along with the people who uncovered them. Discover the scientific techniques used to extract and identify these fossils, and glimpse what life was like before the dinosaurs. 

River Whiteadder dig

Above: Excavation site on the Whiteadder Water.

Supported by

Nerc Logo Large  Heritage Lottery Fund (1)


Fossil Hunters blog posts

Join our team of scientists as they investigate the mystery of life on land.

Closing Romer's Gap: The story so far

If the first four-legged animals had never emerged from water onto land, our world today would not exist. Yet how did this great step happen? The mystery is finally being solved – and fossils discovered in Scotland lie at the heart of the story.

The TWeed project: Evolution’s Missing Chapter

National Museums Scotland houses a world-class collection of Palaeozoic fishes and early tetrapods (animals with four limbs) and for many years this has been the focus of a number of major research programmes by scientists around the world.
Exhibition information


Touring Scotland from October 2016 to June 2017

Tour schedule

Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum
15 October 2016 – 15 January 2017

Montrose Museum and Art Gallery
21 January – 1 April 2017

Museum nan Eilean, Lews Castle
13 April – 26 July 2017

Museum nan Eilean, Uist & Barra
20 October 2017  20 January 2018

Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
23 February – 22 April 2018

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