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Bruce Yardley appointed Chief Geologist

Bruce Yardley (Leeds University) has been appointed Chief Geologist by The Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Chartership news

Chartership Officer Bill Gaskarth reports on a projected new logo for use by CGeols, advice on applications and company training schemes

Climate Change Statement Addendum

The Society has published an addendum to 'Climate Change: Evidence from the Geological Record' (November 2010) taking account of new research

Cracking up in Lincolnshire

Oliver Pritchard, Stephen Hallett, and Timothy Farewell consider the role of soil science in maintaining the British 'evolved road'

Critical metals

Kathryn Goodenough* on a Society-sponsored hunt for the rare metals that underpin new technologies

Déja vu all over again

As Nina Morgan Discovers, the debate over HS2 is nothing new...

Done proud

Ted Nield hails the new refurbished Council Room as evidence that the Society is growing up

Earth Science Week 2014

Fellows - renew, vote for Council, and volunteer for Earth Science Week 2014!  Also - who is honoured in the Society's Awards and Medals 2014.

Fookes celebrated

Peter Fookes (Imperial College, London) celebrated at Society event in honour of Engineering Group Working Parties and their reports

Geology - poor relation?

When are University Earth Science departments going to shed their outmoded obsession with maths, physics and chemistry?

Nancy Tupholme

Nancy Tupholme, Librarian of the Society and the Royal Society, has died, reports Wendy Cawthorne.

Power, splendour and high camp

Ted Nield reviews the refurbishment of the Council Room, Burlington House

The Sir Archibald Geikie Archive at Haslemere Educational Museum

You can help the Haslemere Educational Museum to identify subjects in Sir Archibald Geikie's amazing field notebook sketches, writes John Betterton.

Top bananas

Who are the top 100 UK practising scientists?  The Science Council knows...

Free the bones

Professor Mike Benton and a fibreglass model of Thecodontosaurus. Photo: Ian Randall

Ian Randall attends the launch in Bristol of a new scheme to reconstruct Britain’s oldest known

Geoscientist Online 12 November 2009

Bristol University has launched a scheme to free the bones of Britain’s oldest dinosaur.
The scheme, a central aim of which is to involve the public, is funded by a £295,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Bristol University owns around four tonnes of dinosaur-containing Upper Triassic rock that need opening up. Five hundred bones, from females, males and juveniles, have already been extracted from the host rocks.

The Heritage Lottery Fund, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, exists to maintain and promote our heritage, using funds raised through the National Lottery. Head of HLF South West, Nerys Watts, said: “The remains of the Bristol Dinosaur are of international scientific and heritage importance, offering a chance for us to further understand what our world was once like.”

Thecodontosaurus antiquus, whose name literally means ‘ancient socket-tooth reptile’, was a primitive dinosaur that roamed prehistoric Bristol 216 million years ago. The creature, which measured about two metres in length, was a herbivore.

Professor Mike Benton of Bristol University told Geoscientist Online that they were "extremely grateful for the funding", and that it was excellent that it is “accepted that geology, the Earth sciences and dinosaurs are a legitimate part of our heritage. “Heritage” is what belongs to all of us - our common possessions”.
Judyth Sassoon, an MSc student at Bristol, leans over the exhibit of the Bristol Dinosaur. Phot: Ian Randall The University is keen for the public to be able to see the preservation work in action, and to announce the award, a group of schoolchildren from a local school, Almondsbury Primary, were invited to Bristol City Museum to learn about the dinosaur and examine the fossil material on show. As well as hiring a specialist to oversee the recovery process, the HLF grant will be used to involve the public in the extraction and history of Thecodontosaurus. The University therefore plans to expand the Museum’s preparation laboratory so as to allow easier access for tour groups and people with disabilities.

In tandem with this, local schools will be involved through the University’s new Education Officer. Professor Benton commented that dinosaurs were a good means of getting children interested in geology - and through them, their parents as well. The project is also keen to train a team of volunteers to help with the conservation.

Adrian Tinniswood, chair of the South West branch of the fund, told Geoscientist Online that grants are not usually given to conservation projects. “It’s about engaging the public”, he said; adding that this project was excellent because it would not “just tell people what the heritage is - we want them to take part themselves, find out for themselves."
Sample of the Bristol Dinosaur material on show at the Bristol Museum. Photo: Ian Randall The first remains of Thecodontosaurus were uncovered in Bristol in 1834. At the time it was one of only four dinosaurs to be found worldwide. Sadly, the original samples, from Durdham Down, were destroyed by a bombing raid in the Second World War.

The remains being studied in this project were uncovered in the 1970s in Tytherington Quarry. One of the aims of the project is to create a complete reconstruction of a Thecodontosarus skeleton to go on show in the museum, with the future possibility of building up a herd.