OU/BBC
02 Dec 2008

Uncover more from the Fossil Detectives with DVD and Fossil kit

Fossil kit now available

Fossil kit now available

Fossil Detectives, The Open University’s eight-part series which was shown on BBC FOUR and BBC TWO this year is now being released on DVD by Open University Worldwide.

The series follows Dr Hermione Cockburn and her team of experts as they travel across Britain uncovering the best palaeo-treasures and mysteries. They piece together the clues in the rocks and the landscape to reveal the stories buried deep inside, and show just why we have such a rich palaeontological legacy.

Sir David Attenborough, musician and writer Alex James and singer/songwriter Billy Bragg all reveal their passion for fossils in the series and Sir David shows Hermione part of his own personal collection built up from his travels over the years.

Hermione also explores fantastic private and public collections, and discovers the secrets of the past. Each region reveals tantalising evidence of the animals, plants and landscapes long vanished from Britain.

The Fossil Detectives series DVD is available to order online from Open University Worldwide for £28.74 (including VAT) via the website at www.ouw.co.uk. It is also available from other retailers.


A special fossil collection has also been produced by Open University Worldwide to accompany the series and provide museum-quality replica fossils for those who want to take their interest further. The 12 fossils, similar to those uncovered in the series, are all authentic replicas of many of the types of fossils located around the UK and Ireland.

Dr Hermione Cockburn said: “Fossils are not just beautiful and fascinating objects – they reveal secrets about the past and are vital to our understanding of the history of our planet and the evolution of life on Earth.”

The fossil collection is a great introduction for anyone interested in fossil hunting or collecting and a fantastic teaching aid for any school or library that wants to cover the subject, offering a range of cross curricula links for Key Stages 1 to 4. The fossil replicas offer the opportunity to study complete, museum-quality samples rather than small fragments. The use of replicas also helps to reduce pressure on sites throughout the world, which are in danger from over-collecting by fossil hunters.

Popular fossils within the collection include an ammonite, a trilobite, a dinosaur tooth, the snout of an Ichthyosaur and a reptile footprint. A hand lens and factsheet enable collectors to examine the fossils in detail and explore the evidence of the evolution of life in ancient environments. The collection is priced at £35.19 (including VAT) and is available for order via the Open University Worldwide website at www.ouw.co.uk.

Editor’s Notes

OU Worldwide (OUW) is the international and commercial division of The Open University (OU) with a remit to deliver the innovative teaching methodology and learning resources of the OU to a wider UK and international market, often in partnership with other higher education institutes.
Fossil Detectives’ was a fully-funded Open University production for BBC FOUR.The series broadcast on BBC FOUR in the summer of 2008 and on BBC TWO in the autumn. It attracted a total of 2.2 million viewers on BBC FOUR and so far 6.53 million on BBC TWO.
Series Producer for the BBC is Kerensa Jennings. Executive Editor for the BBC is Fiona Pitcher. BBC Multi-platform Commissioning Executive for The Open University is Catherine McCarthy. The Open University academic adviser is Dr Peter Sheldon.
The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for nearly forty years, providing educational programming to a mass audience. In recent times this partnership has evolved from late night programming for delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning.
A book to accompany the series, ‘Fossil Detectives: Discovering Prehistoric Britain’ by Hermione Cockburn and Douglas Palmer, has been published by BBC Books and is available for £16.99 from the BBC shop at www.bbcshop.com. The book gives an in-depth look at fossil stories from history as well as cutting edge modern day science, and offers guidance on how to conduct fossil hunts and identify your finds.

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