Speaker: Richard Fortey (Paleontologist with research interests including trilobites, long-time career as Paleontologist at Natural History Museum, London, writer of 14 books on wildlife, presenter of television programmes including BBC4 “Nature’s Wonderlands: Islands of Evolution”).
The subject of the talk was taken from the title of Richard’s recent book of memoirs of his early years. He is the author of more than eight popular science books on geology, palaeontology, evolution and natural history and has presented wildlife TV programmes.
It was in the form of “a conversation with” between Andy Swan and Richard who began by reading paragraphs describing a Brown Trout in a glass case which had been caught by his father, an avid fisherman. While his father fished Richard was free to explore the nearby countryside.
As a boy, from books, he taught himself about birds, flowers, fungi and chemistry. On family holidays he discovered an ammonite and later a trilobite which started his great interest in those subjects.
His career culminated with being a long-time Palaeontologist at The Natural History Museum, London.
His talk concluded with photographs of Walliserops trilobite which had long trident appendages at the head. Consulting with other palaeontologists, Richard surmises these were used for jousting and turning over an opponent.
Many of the audience of 75 said how much they had enjoyed the talk, laced with Richard’s amusing anecdotes.