GCR block - Palaeoentomology (PALENT)


Block Description

UK map showing distribution of GCR sites of GCR block PALENT
Distribution of GCR sites of GCR block Palaeoentomology

In contrast to the manner in which most invertebrate fossils are represented in the GCR, fossils of vertebrates, arthropods (except trilobites) and terrestrial plants do have their own dedicated GCR Blocks, because of the relative rarity of the fossil material. The GCR sites selected for the Palaeoentomology GCR Block represent the British fossil record of the insects from the emergence of the group during the Devonian Period (which ranged from about 395 to 345 million years ago (Ma)). Other fossil arthropods (except trilobites) are afforded their own GCR Block, ‘Arthropods’. See APD.

Palaeontological characteristics

Today, creatures as seemingly diverse as barnacles, beetles, fleas, flies, crabs, trilobtes and woodlice can all be recognised as arthropods and share a unifying body plan –a tough exoskeletal cuticular covering (carapace) to a segmented body and paired jointed legs.

After the emergence of the group about 500 Ma, by 400 Ma the arthropods were not only well-established in the marine environment but had made the difficult transition to life on land, and by around 320Ma, the arthropods had already made the transition to the air –the first creatures on Earth to do so. The subsequent success of flying insects had a huge impact of life on land, their ‘hand-in-hand’ evolution with flowering plants n late Mesozoic times led to a tranformation of terrestrial vegetation.

Taxonomically the arthropod group has been recognised since the mid 19th century and includes insects (Devonian–Recent range), crustaceans (Cambrian to Recent), myriapods (centipedes and millipedes), chelicerates (spiders and scoprions), ostracods (Cambrian–Recent), and extinct groups such as trilobites (Cambrian–Permian), and eurpterids (Ordovician–Permian).


The palaeogeography of each relevant geological period since the Devonian can be found elsewhere on the pages of this website.

GCR site selection

Owing to the rarity of fossil insect material, this GCR Block represents something of a special case with regard to including all of the sites yielding, or that have yielded, significant types and quantities of scientifically important material that help elucidate the evolution of the main insect groups.

Site List

Your selection found 18 GCR sites. Sites are sorted alphabetically by country, local authority and then by site name -
CodeNameCountryLocal AuthorityGrid RefGCR Site Account
798Cold AshEnglandBerkshireSU500714Not available
794CharmouthEnglandDorset CCSY359931Not available
793Durlston BayEnglandDorset CCSZ035772Not available
806PoxwellEnglandDorset CCSY740835Not available
1683DumbletonEnglandGloucestershireSP006345Not available
807Bouldnor CliffEnglandIsle of WightSZ382907Not available
796GurnardEnglandIsle of WightSZ462943Not available
795St HelensEnglandIsle of WightSZ638899Not available
799Aust CliffEnglandNorth and North East Somerset, South GloucestershireST565895Not available
1486StonesfieldEnglandOxfordshireSP392172Not available
1525AuclayeEnglandSurreyTQ168388Not available
823Clock HouseEnglandSurreyTQ176383Not available
824SmokejackEnglandSurreyTQ112374Not available
1488Bognor RegisEnglandWest SussexSZ918984Not available
1487DintonEnglandWiltshire CCSU006307Not available
808Teffont EviasEnglandWiltshire CCST990311Not available
1480Rhynie ChertScotlandAberdeen City and AberdeenshireNJ494277Not available
797ArdtunScotlandLochaber, Skye and Lochalsh and Argyll and the IslandsNM379248Not available
Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access. Search Again