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Mesozoic Biotas of Scandinavia and its Arctic Territories


This Geological Society Special Publication presents a number of papers encapsulating the latest research surrounding our understanding of the Mesozoic of Scandinavia.  It is a fascinating read, covering such a wide variety of topics from the pioneering work of Carl Wiman to papers looking at specific fossil bearing localities.  The collection of 18 papers has something for everyone and provides an excellent starting point for anyone interested in the Mesozoic in general, or the specifics of the Mesozoic in this area.

Each paper complements the others and provides readers with the opportunity to recognise the many different methods that are now used in studying past palaeoenvironments. It shows the importance of working together to develop our understanding of the world (or previous worlds) around us. Any interdisciplinary book of this nature should have a wider readership, including as it does so many different papers on such a wide variety of subjects.

The book builds on the excellent work of the previously published Geology of Svalbard (Harland 1998) and gives specific details of a number of fossil localities.  The book also gives the reader an excellent insight into the trials and tribulations of fieldwork in such challenging areas. The quality of reproduction is as always from this publisher second-to-none, with good quality diagrams and images that enhance the well-written papers. Indeed, the use of colour in so many of the maps and diagrams considerably enhances their usefulness, and thankfully they are reproduced at a size that makes them easily accessible.  

The quality of all of the papers is high, so to single any one paper out is not really possible and is, in truth, down to the personal interests of the reader.  For me the standout paper was on the Slottsmøya marine reptile lagerstätte, which details so well the need for multidisciplinary approaches for the study of palaeoenvironments. The papers certainly whet the appetite and I hope that we will see further investigations in an area which is rich in potential if the sheer variety of papers in this volume is anything to go by.

It is interesting that in the 175 years since the naming of the dinosauria, that we have still got so much to learn about life in the Mesozoic period and this book makes a welcome contribution to the subject. As such it is an ideal starting point for those wishing to find out more about the Mesozoic world and it should gain a wide readership for those wishing to study the subject in greater depth.


Harland, W. B. (1998) The Geology of Svalbard, Geological Society of London Memoir Number 17 (978-1-897799-93-2)

Reviewed by Gordon Neighbour

MESOZOIC BIOTAS OF SCANDANAVIA AND ITS ARCTIC TERRITORIES Edited by: B P KEAR, J LINDGREN, J H HURUM, J MILÀN AND V VAJDA 2016 Geological Society Special Publication #434 ISBN: 978–1–86239–748-4 List Price: £100.00 Fellows price: £50.00.