Listen in pop-out player

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the significance of fossils. In the middle of the nineteenth century the discoveries of the fossil hunters used to worry poor Ruskin to death, he wrote in a letter in 1851, “my faith, which was never strong, is being beaten to gold leaf…If only those Geologists would let me alone I could do very well, but those dreadful Hammers! I hear the clink of them at the end of every cadence of the Bible verses.”The testimony of fossils over the ages has been remarkably eloquent when we have wanted to listen; and now with mass spectrometers, electron microscopes and secondary X-ray detectors, these long dead organisms can speak to us of the past in ways they never could before.With Richard Corfield, Research Associate in the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University; Dianne Edwards, Distinguished Research Professor in Palaeobotany at Cardiff University; Richard Fortey, Senior Research Palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Thu 22 Mar 2001 21:30

Featured in...

Download this programme

Download this episode

Subscribe to this programme or download individual episodes.

In Our Time Archive: A new way to find the programmes you want to hear

Free Will

We've created a new way to search through the programmes and would like your help.

In Our Time Downloads


Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Watch animations from A History of Ideas

The Libet Experiment

Explore some big questions about how we live today.