Page last updated at 01:15 GMT, Saturday, 12 April 2008 02:15 UK

Local hero's shores 'fossil rich'

Hugh Miller's House (Pic: Undiscovered Scotland)
Hugh Miller's family home in Cromarty is a museum

Scientists say an area which launched the career of a man dubbed a local hero for geologists remains rich in fossils more than 150 years after his death.

Hugh Miller's birthplace of Cromarty, in the Highlands, is hosting events marking the bicentenary of the Geological Society of London.

Professor Nigel Trewin, of the University of Aberdeen, said finds could still be made on nearby beaches.

Many of Mr Miller's discoveries are on show in the house of his birth.

Prof Trewin, from Aberdeen's department of geology and petroleum geology, said it was important people collected fossils - provided they heeded guidelines set out in the newly launched collectors code.

The collection of fossils lying along the shore is a good thing as long as it is done responsibly
Prof Trewin
University of Aberdeen

He said: "The sort of things Hugh Miller found while he was searching along the shores are still found today.

"In the last few years beautiful specimens were collected and are on show in the museum."

Prof Trewin, who will co-chair Saturday and Sunday's events, said the fossils were at risk of being eroded away by the actions of the sea.

He said: "The collection of fossils lying along the shore is a good thing as long as it is done responsibly and put in a museum."

The weekend is one of a series of "local hero" events being held by the society.

Mr Miller, a skilled stonemason and writer, was born in Cromarty in 1802.

His study of fossils and rocks around his home has been credited with contributing to a greater understanding of the history of the Earth.


SEE ALSO
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