Fossil experts from across the world visit Berwickshire

Old Cambus East Mains farm looking towards Siccar Point
Old Cambus East Mains farm looking towards Siccar Point

Paleontologists from across the world visited Burnmouth and Siccar Point last week as part of the 7th International Conference on Fossil Insects, Anthropods and Amber.

The conference focuses on the scientific study of non-marine arthropods and amber and takes place every three years. At the 2013 conference in Byblos, Lebanon, delegates voted for Edinburgh to host the 2016 event.

Between April 27 and May 1, the delegates took two field trips from the conference based at the National Museum in Edinburgh - to Berwickshire and Stonehaven.

The TW:eed Project was the subject of interest for the scientists - a research project studying fossils and environments from the Early Carboniferous Tournaisian Stage, 350 million years ago, discovered in Berwickshire in 2012.

The TW:eed Project involves teams of experts from the Universities of Cambridge, Leicester and Southampton, the British Geological Survey and National Museums of Scotland collaborating to study 350 million year old fossils found at Burnmouth, the banks of the Whiteadder Water near Chirnside, the River Tweed near Coldstream, and the rocks near Tantallon Castle alongside the Firth of Forth in 2012.

These fossils fill in a significant gap (Romer’s Gap) in man’s understanding of how tetrapods moved from water onto land, the other animals and plants that existed at that time, and the environment in which these changes took place.

At Burnmouth delegates studied a complete sequence through non-marine latest Devonian and earliest Carboniferous sediments.

They also visited Willies Hole on the River Whiteadder near Chirnside and Siccar Point near Cockburnpsath, the site of Hutton’s Unconformity and considered the birthplace of modern geology.