About the Fossil Surgery

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My interest in Geology began in 1977. I was introduced to collecting semi-precious stones on a local sea shore. Ferryden is a village on the East coast of Scotland. It is famous for the agates which erode out of the ancient lavas there. The staff at my local museum encouraged me to look for fossils in the Old Red Sandstone of the area.

Between 1988-1992, I studied Geology at the University of Aberdeen. From there, I moved to The University of Manchester, England. My Ph.D studies were focussed on the fossil record of horseshoe crabs. Between 1995-1996 I was employed by the UKESCC to develop educational software.

Welcome to the 'Fossil Surgery' answering fossil enquiries since 1996. This site started in response to puzzled people asking me about their various fossil finds. I don't claim to get them right all the time, but perhaps I can point you in the right direction?

Here are some ways of pinning a name on your fossil finds:
  • Local Museums
  • Identification Guides
  • Local geological societies
  • University Geology Departments

    But if you have something you want identified:
  • Give me a general idea of where it was found.
  • post me a photo (with a scale bar by the fossil)
  • email a digital image to:

I moved back to Aberdeen in the Summer of 1997 to begin a post-doctoral research project / lectureship on a Devonian hot spring deposit, the Rhynie Chert at the University of Aberdeen Between January 2001-August 2007 I worked as the Principal Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeobotany at the National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh.



My current job is a temporary research contract at the University of Cambridge. I am based at The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences investigating 'Charles Darwin the Geologist'. This study involves re-examining his notebooks and rock collection from 'The Voyage of the Beagle'.

Site last edited: 12th February 2008