Fossils and Rocks of Lyme Regis
Here be dinosaurs! The geology gallery of Lyme Regis Museum contains a wealth of fossils and tells of the early pioneering palaeontologists who worked at this Dorset town on what is now the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. You can also learn about the great landslip of 1839 and link to all our fossil-related resources.
For thousands of years the Lyme cliffs have crumbled and fallen, revealing great numbers of fossils which have been washed out of the crumbling rock by the sea. In the days before palaeontology, people picked up these oddly shaped ‘stones’, seeing them as curiosities of nature, but until the early 19th century there was no scientific interest or understanding.
Lyme Regis was a centre for early pioneering palaeontologists, including Mary Anning, Henry de la Beche, William Buckland and William Conybeare. See Mary Anning and the men of science.
The ‘Lias’ rock at Lyme was being quarried from the sea ledges in the early 19th century, mostly for making cement which would set underwater. This exposed large areas for fossil hunting.
George Roberts wrote in his Dictionary of Geology (1839) under the entry for Plesiosaurs:
Landslips and landscape
The Fossil Hunter