West Coast Fossils: A Guide to the Ancient Life of Vancouver Island


208 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55110-149-1
DDC 560.9711'2





Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is associate director of programs at the Canadian Museum
of Nature.


This excellent book is the first regional guide to Vancouver Island’s
fossil richness. The authors are two palaeontologists understandably
eager to document this natural wealth in their neighborhood.

The first several chapters introduce key subjects. Fossils, the
historical evidence of biological diversity on earth, are discussed as
to their nature (including pseudofossils) and placement in the
phylogenetic hierarchy. Geological time is reviewed by period and major
events, along with the relative and numerical dating of rocks through
fossils and isotopes, aided by local examples. The mountains and
terrains of the provincial cordillera as geological formations through
time are examined, as are the arrays of fossil groups and localities.
Two-thirds of the book is dedicated to a review of the fossils of the
island by geological time and region. A valuable final chapter considers
tools and techniques, and the important issue of the ethics of

The succinct and lucid text never becomes dry or technical, includes
good-humored snippets of history, and is enhanced by 130 illustrations.
A glossary, index, and references are all provided, and the format is
convenient for fieldwork.

As informative and lively as its subject matter is dead, this book is
yet one more good reason to enjoy Vancouver Island.


Ludvigsen, Rolf, and Graham Beard., “West Coast Fossils: A Guide to the Ancient Life of Vancouver Island,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/6963.