ANGUSalive helps to reveal the mysteries of life on land

Picture courtesy of National Museums of Scotland
Picture courtesy of National Museums of Scotland

How life emerged from the seas to flourish on land is a question that has remained unanswered since the prehistoric age.

But an exhibition, opening at Montrose Museum this weekend, offers an insight into this ancient evolutionary leap forward with a unique insight into an eco-system that existed millions of years ago.

ANGUSalive is hosting Fossil Hunters: Unearthing the Mystery of Life on Land at Montrose Museum from this Saturday (January 21) through to April.

Until recently, no fossil evidence had been found to explain what is known as Romer’s Gap –the 15-million year space that existed in our scientific knowledge of how vertebrates moved from water on to land. Recent discoveries and what they reveal are helping to bridge that gap.

The National Museums Scotland touring exhibition, which is supported by the National Environment Research Council and Heritage Lottery Fund, is rich with Scottish-based fossil finds, including tetrapods (four-legged land vertebrates), fish, plants and invertebrates.

This fascinating exhibition tells the story of the people who unearthed this compelling prehistoric evidence, explains the scientific techniques they used, and offers a glimpse into what life was like before the dinosaurs.

Montrose Museum Officer, Linda Fraser, said: “It is a paleontological treat for all ages and highlights Scotland’s part in how life began on earth. It is a pleasure and a privilege to have this exhibition in Angus, and we’re looking forward to welcoming large numbers of new visitors to the Museum as well as our regular visitors during the exhibition.”

The exhibition opens at Montrose Museum, Panmure Place, Montrose, DD10 8HF, on Saturday, January 21. The museum opens from 10am to 5pm (closed on Sundays and Mondays). Entry is free of charge.

You can also follow a preview evening tonight (Friday, January 20); live on the ANGUSalive Facebook page.

To complement the National Museums Scotland exhibition, Montrose Museum will also have on display a number of specimens from our own Angus fossil hunters. There is a long history of fossil hunting in the county. Indeed, Montrose Museum was founded in 1837 by the local natural history and antiquarian society, a number of whose members were eminent fossil hunters.

Rev Hugh Mitchell found the red Angus sandstone to be a rich seam of 400 million-year-old fossils, including a giant sea scorpion; and Dr James Howden focused on the post-glacial deposits around Montrose basin.

The museum continues to receive donations of fossils that have been found locally and proven to be significant for palaeontology.