What are fossils?

Fossils are the remains of ancient animals and plants (or their tracks and traces) that have been preserved in stone. Typically, only the hard parts like bones and shells are all that now remain. The soft parts usually rot away with the passing of time. Only in very rare and very special conditions do we get a glimpse of what the soft parts were once like. We never get to see the colour of the animal or plant when it has been fossilised. Many fossils that we find in the rocks are from animals that no longer can be found alive on Earth, like dinosaurs and trilobites. These animals died out many millions of years ago and long before man ever walked on the Earth.

Below are some typical local Dudley fossils of Silurian age.
Hover the cursor over photograph to enlarge and learn about them.

Download Dudley Museum’s guide about fossils. (PDF 37KB)

Explore the Wenlock Reef – Sedgwick Museum interactive site.