Fossil Arthropods of Great Britain
GCR Volume No. 35
Jarzembowski, E.A., Siveter, Derek J., Palmer, D. and Selden, P.A.
This volume addresses the evolution and diversity of a significant animal group. Arthropods – animals with jointed legs – have existed for over 500 million years and their evolutionary history is traced.


Arthropods are the most abundant and diverse group of animals in the history of life on Earth.  While the Palaeozoic arthropods diversified and proliferated in ocean waters (in which modern representatives of the group still thrive), some strands evolved from the marine ancestry to play a vital role in the ­colonization of fresh waters and terrestrial environments in Mid-Palaeozoic times.  Furthermore, the non-marine arthropods, in the form of the insects, were the first animals to conquer the airways.  The non-marine arthropod group as a whole co-evolved with plants through several evolutionary developments, involving such processes as the formation of soils and pollin­ation.  Even from an anthropo­centric point of view, they still are one of the most important groups today because of their role in the pollination of flowering plants and as ­vectors of diseases.  Consequently, the evolutionary history of the group is of ­considerable interest and importance.  But many aspects of this history are under-represented in the fossil record because of problems with preservational potential and bias in their stratigraphical and collecting record.
Recent decades have seen a much better understanding of how arthropods are recruited to the rock record, with the result that ancient deposits with the greatest preservation potential for fossil arthropods have been searched with success. 

The stratigraphical record of the British Isles contains an unusually complete ­sample of geological and environmental history for the last 542 million years of Phanerozoic time. Within this rock record there are a large number of sites that have proven of importance to our understanding of the history and evolution of fossil arthropods.  A number of these site are of international importance such as Ludford Lane and Stonesfield in England, and Rhynie and East Kirkton in Scotland; some sites are now mainly of historical interest or regional importance.  However, the sites selected for the GCR and described in this volume preserve a unique record of the arthropod story, worthy of preservation and legal protection as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).

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294 pages, illustrations, A4 hardback
ISBN 1 86107 486 7
Please cite as: Jarzembowski, E.A., Siveter, Derek J., Palmer, D. and Selden, P.A. (2010) Fossil Arthropods of Great Britain, Geological Conservation Review Series, No. 35, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough, 294 pp.