North Island Explorer: Guide to North Vancouver Island






Book Review:


West Coast Fossils

   by Rolf Ludvigsen and Graham Beard


Paperback, 216 Pages

Publisher: Harbour, Revised Edition July 1998


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"West Coast Fossils" is written by two Vancouver Island paleontologists. It covers most of the fossils that an amateur fossil collector is likely to find while collecting on Vancouver Island.


The book starts off with an explanation of fossils, the geology of Vancouver Island, and the taxonomic breakdown of ancient life. This covers the first five chapters, which, thankfully, are very brief because the real meat of the book lies in chapter six, which is a well-organized catalogue describing the most commonly found species according to geologic period and taxonomic breakdown.


The pictures along with descriptions are generally helpful for identifying species. This is perhaps the most redeeming feature of this book and the reason I carry it with me whenever I go collecting. On numerous occasions, I have had the elation of cracking open a concretion, finding something amazing, turning to "West Coast Fossils", and, sure enough, finding my discovery's twin in a clear, easy-to-identify photo with apt description underneath. From the heteromorph ammonite, Polyptychoceras vancouverense, to the spiny lobster, Linuparus vancouverensis, "West Coast Fossils" has been instrumental in identifying fossils in my collection.


The writing style is clear and precise with just the right mix of historical anecdote and scientific fact. The book is not overly technical, yet filled with practical information, making it the ideal choice for anyone interested in going out and finding real fossils of their own. Your kids will hold you in high esteem!