In Search of Fossils

Ref: C3126167

Fossils, once thought of as 'sports of the devil to deceive mankind', are the remains of both plants and animals which help geologists unravel the progress of evolution, interpret past environments, and provide a useful method of dating events in the geological past. After exploring how fossils form, we will then introduce key local groups such as trilobites, graptolites and early vertebrates to see how they helped to interpret the geological history of the Marches.

Course aim

To introduce the key principles behind the study of fossils which gradually developed in the 19th century and led to the concept of evolution of life on Earth.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Appreciate that geology and the study of fossils is a young science which had its origins in the early 19th Century;
  • Understand how fossils not only provide benchmarks for evolution but also indicate environmental changes;
  • Identify the key groups of local fossils.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Specimens of rocks and fossils drawn from the local geological succession will be used in practical identification exercises.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • A notebook and pencil would be useful but not essential. The tutor will provide handouts to illustrate the key points. A reading glass or hand lens would also help in the examination of specimens but the tutor will have some available.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

In Search of Fossils


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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