Glimpse of life before the dinosaurs

A new exhibition at Montrose Museum explores how organisms made the transition from sea to land. It offers a unique insight into what life was like before the dinosaurs.

A new exhibition at Montrose Museum explores how organisms made the transition from sea to land. It offers a unique insight into what life was like before the dinosaurs.

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Montrose Museum is hosting a major touring exhibition which tries to shed light on how prehistoric life managed to make the transition from sea to land.

The exhibition, run by National Museums Scotland and hosted by ANGUSalive, offers an insight into this ancient evolutionary leap with a unique insight into an eco-system that existed millions of years ago.

‘Fossil Hunters: Unearthing the Mystery of Life on Land’ will run at the 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 scientific knowledge of how vertebrates moved from water on to land. Recent discoveries and what they reveal are helping to bridge that gap.

The 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.

It also 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.

Linda Fraser, Montrose Museum officer, said: “It is a palaeontological 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 museum, on Panmure Place is open from 10am to 5pm daily except on Sundays and Mondays and entry is free.

There will also be a live preview evening on Friday (January 20) live on the ANGUSalive Facebook page.

To complement the exhibition, the museum will also display a number of specimens from Angus fossil hunters.

There is a long history of fossil hunting in the county and Montrose Museum was founded in 1837 by the local natural history and antiquarian society, a number of whose members were eminent fossil hunters. The museum continues to receive donations of fossils that have been found locally and proven to be significant for palaeontology.