A University of Leicester student will be presenting his discovery of 425 million year-old fossils found in rocks from the Silurian period of geological time in Herefordshire.  The fossils represent a great range of animal groups and their study has tremendously increased knowledge of the evolution of life.

David Riley’s research represents the first major attempt by scientists to understand the preservation pathway giving us a rare ‘window’ into a Silurian sea floor environment.

The Leicester University PhD student will be presenting his research at the Festival of Postgraduate Research which is taking place on Thursday 25th June in the Belvoir Suite, Charles Wilson Building at the University of Leicester between 11.30am and 1pm.  This event is open to the public and is FREE to attend.

Riley said: “It’s quite remarkable preservation, not seen anywhere else in the world. We only have samples from a single locality within the county of Herefordshire. We are dealing with three dimensional fossils preserved within a volcanic ash. Think of it as a 425 million year old Pompeii”

“The key outcomes of this project are the identification of the preservation pathways and the styles of preservation that will greatly aid reconstruction of the morphology of the animals, adding to our understanding of past life and evolution.

“If we could use this research in the feature to target specific deposits with similar chemical characteristics throughout geological time we’d have our very own time machine on evolution.”

This research is part of a self funded PhD in collaboration with Dr Sarah Gabbott, Professor David Siveter and Dr Mike Norry at the University of Leicester, Professor Derek Siveter at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Professor Derek Briggs at Yale University USA and Dr Mark Sutton at Imperial Collage.