Fossils- by the British Museum (Natural History)

A library for geologists…

‘Fossils’ series

by the British Museum (Natural History)

These three handbooks were issued by the (then) British Museum (Natural History) in the 1960s in response to calls for inexpensive, simple to understand, books to enable the identification of fossils found by the public.

Two pages from British Caenozoic Fossils

Two pages from British Caenozoic Fossils

Page from British Mesozoic Fossils

Page from British Mesozoic Fossils

It is remarkable that after half a century they still do their job very well. They don’t cover the subject of collecting or preserving, that was covered in a separate earlier volume. Instead, each volume concentrates on a particular geological era.

I have yet to encounter a modern volume that does the same job in a manner that renders these completely obsolete. The Natural History Museum has since published snappier looking up-to-date versions of the same three volumes but from what I can see, the content is still basically the same other than updated names being added.

Not particularly cheap, some earlier editions can be picked up for reasonable prices online if you are not too bothered about having the most up-to-date nomenclature. My three volumes cost between six shillings, and twelve shillings and sixpence when new, and no, I didn’t buy them at those prices.

Lets face it, for the great majority of us, the level of identification provided by these books is more than enough.

 

 

Two pages from British Palaeozoic Fossils

Two pages from British Palaeozoic Fossils

Books in featured image:

British Caenozoic Fossils, British Museum (Natural History). Second Edition- 1963

British Mesozoic Fossils, British Museum (Natural History). Third Edition- 1967

British Palaeozoic Fossils, British Museum (Natural History). Second Edition, 1966

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