Lecture: Virtual Fossils: soft-bodied sensations from the Silurian

Speaker: Professor Derek Siveter, University of Oxford

Entry Fee

Members: Free

Visitors: £5.00

Date and Time

19:30 -


Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, 16-18 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HN

Lecture Description

The Herefordshire Lagerstätte is a unique fossil deposit of Silurian age (about 425 million years old) in which the fossils are preserved in marine-deposited volcanic ash. They are remarkable in that not only biomineralized shelly forms are preserved, but also soft-bodied invertebrates, and in spectacular three-dimensional detail. Soft-bodied faunas from the Silurian are largely unknown, and the Herefordshire fauna provides us with a previously unavailable window onto a community from a time some 100 million years after the Cambrian explosion event. Further, the Herefordshire fossils are ‘released’ from the rock by a novel technique. Digital images of the specimens are combined by the computer to reconstruct the animal in minute detail as a ‘virtual fossil’ that can be examined interactively on screen, and the computer reconstructions of the various specimens can even be turned into large-scale physical models.

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