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Palaeontologist duo and local fossil-fish expert on hand for Fossil Finders' Drop-in event at Elgin Museum

By Lorna Thompson

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EXPERTS will be on hand at Elgin Museum this weekend to help identify locals' potential fossil finds.

Palaeontologists Dr Nick Fraser and Dr Davide Foffa, from National Museums Scotland, and local fossil-fish expert Bob Davidson, will stand ready to help solve ancient mysteries at the Fossil Finders' Drop-in event this Saturday.

Moray's 375 million-year-old Elginerpeton was the inspiration behind the event after the bones of the 1.5 metre-long predator were brought together for the museum's current "At The Water's Edge" geology exhibition.

The bones – some of the earliest known tetrapod fossils in the world – provide crucial clues of the evolution from fins to feet.

Dr Alison Wright, Elgin Museum Geology Group volunteer, said: "The event was inspired by the Elginerpeton fossils lying unrecognised in dusty drawers for decades.

"We thought it would be fun to see what others had lying around in homes and gardens that had never been identified."

Geologist and Elgin Museum volunteer Dr Alison Wright. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Geologist and Elgin Museum volunteer Dr Alison Wright. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Dr Fraser is Keeper of Natural Sciences at National Museums Scotland and gave the go-ahead for the museum's loan of the Elginerpeton fossils held in Edinburgh.

Dr Foffa is nearing the end of a three-year project at National Museums Scotland researching the Elgin Reptiles.

Dr Wright added: "The use of scanning techniques has revealed hitherto unknown details about the animals studied and Davide's research has re-evaluated much of what we thought we knew about their mode of life and locomotion."

Both Dr Fraser and Dr Foffa have contributed to the museum's updated booklet about the Elgin Reptiles, which was printed last month.

Mr Davidson is a freelance oil well engineer who has been researching Scottish Devonian fossil sites for 25 years. He is an honorary research fellow at Aberdeen University's geology department.

Dr Wright added: "We're really grateful for the support received from Museums Galleries Scotland for our Fossil Finders' events, which were originally planned for 2020.

"We ran a coastal walk last Saturday, in glorious sunshine, and we hope that the drop-in session will prove equally popular.

"You don't need to book tickets, so why not share your finds with us and visit the museum at the same time?"

The Fossil Finders' Drop-in will run between 11am to 3pm on Saturday, October 23.

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