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Fossils in the Triassic Red Rocks of Sidmouth and East Devon (Geology Section)

Sat. 28 September 2024 at 10:30 am

£4 – £5

A talk by Rob Coram.

The Jurassic Coast World Heritage site is justly famed for the prolific marine fossils collected in Dorset. Much less well known are the older red rocks that form the imposing cliffs along the East Devon coast. These were laid down during the Permian and Triassic periods, not under the sea, but in the dry desert interior of the supercontinent Pangaea. Consequently, these rocks are only sparsely fossiliferous and usually all that is seen of life from those times are enigmatic burrows and footprints of animals that left no remains of their bodies.

At some levels, however, particularly within the Otter Sandstone exposed around Sidmouth, life-supporting rivers preserved the remains of local plants and animals including molluscs, fish and reptiles almost a quarter of a billion years old. Most of these fossils are fragmentary, but very rarely, more complete remains turn up, which make these beds of worldwide importance in telling the story of how life on land was recovering from the world’s greatest mass extinction and gearing itself up for the appearance of more familiar creatures such as dinosaurs, crocodiles and mammals.

Rob Coram is a palaeontologist who specialises on life that lived on the land during the age of dinosaurs. He collected fossils as a bored school-child and much later did a PhD on Cretaceous period fossil insects from east Dorset. Following that, he focussed on the older and more mysterious Triassic rocks of the Devon coast, which produce rare and important fossils that are being studied in collaboration with the University of Bristol.

Cost: £4 for DA members, £5 non-members.


Sat. 28 September 2024
10:30 am
£4 – £5
Event Categories:


Geology Section


Boniface Centre
East of the Parish Church
Crediton, Devon EX17 2AH