Fossil Fishes of Great Britain
(1999)
GCR Volume No. 16
Dineley, D. & Metcalf, S.
This book gives a general outline of the classification and evolution of fishes from early Palaeozoic times to the present. It describes in detail the GCR sites in Britain from which important fish fossils have been obtained.

Summary

The boImage of Fossil Fishes of Great Britain coverok is written within the general guidelines of the GCR, giving a general outline of the classification and evolution of fishes from early Palaeozoic times to the present and relating to the many sites in Britain from which important fossils have been obtained. Since their origins stem from fishes of the Devonian period, the earliest tetrapods and their amphibian descendants warrant treatment in the same way . Britain has a rich heritage of fossil fishes, from the Silurian period to the Recent. The number of localities from which this heritage has been generated runs into the hundreds, many of them being no longer in existence or accessible. Almost a hundred, however, have been included in this survey as sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs), and may yield more such fossils. In reviewing these sites, the book presents evidence of the ecology and environments of these ancient communities or individuals.
 
From time to time, discoveries of these fossils in Britain have made science headlines. Sites in Scotland have long been famous for the remarkable preservation of early fish communities, and sites yielding a wealth of early tetrapods from old lake and delta swamp deposits there have recently been investigated. The book shows the great range of habitat and time, from upland lake to open sea in a selection of localities yielding bones, scales, teeth and other traces of Britain's fossil fishes. The discoverers and scientists involved also get an appropriate mention.
 
The origin of vertebrate animals around 500 million years ago is an important topic in biology, and the subsequent evolution of the first vertebrates to appear as fishes has been an important study, drawing its data from fossils and the rocks in which they occur. From the advanced fishes of the Devonian period evolved the first four-legged creatures, aquatic, then amphibious in habit, and then some forsaking dependence upon water as the earliest kind of reptile. An understanding of the environments and communities in which this evolution took place is a prime concern of this book. The 'accidents' of fossil preservation are well documented in the geology of Britain from Caithness to Kent, and geological conservation aims to protect the places and material which provide the information. It does not seek to stifle field study but to enhance it and to retrieve more of the 'ones that got away'.
 
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675 pages, illustrations, A4 hardback
ISBN 1 86107 470 0
 
Please cite as: Dineley, D. & Metcalf, S. (1999) Fossil Fishes of Great Britain, Geological Conservation Review Series, No. 16, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough, 675 pp.