Wot, no dinosaurs?
Why do we have no dinosaur remains in Guernsey?
Everything we know about dinosaurs comes from fossils. These are the remains of living things which are preserved and survive a long time. It is believed that dinosaurs lived in this part of the world because there have been fossils found on the south coast of England and nearby France. Sadly we will not find any dinosaur fossils in Guernsey as we have no rocks of the right date.
Does that mean Guernsey stone is too old to contain dinosaur fossils?
Yes. Fossils are usually preserved in stone and Guernsey certainly has some very old stone!
Some of the rocks on Guernsey's south coast cliffs are about 2,600 million years old - that's about half the age of the Earth. The youngest of these rocks are about 550 million years old and formed before there was any life on land. Above them, once upon a time, would have been layers of sedimentary rocks such as sandstones or limestones. Dinosaurs would have lived on this layer of stone before they became extinct 65 million years ago. This stone has all been eroded away by wind and water.
We may not find fossils in Guernsey, but you can look into the sky and get a feel for the spirit and beauty of dinosaurs by watching their living descendants: the birds.
Are there other fossils to see at Guernsey Museum?
Yes, we do have some plant fossils to see - and more sometimes, depending on the temporary exhibition. We do love dinosaurs and we have held exhibitions and events about them. The closest we've come to having a real dinosaur is a model of velociraptor in 2018. We commissioned artist (and Dinosaur fan) Mark Cook to create it for our Cretaceous Park Timewarp. Together with his wife Amanda, they designed and produced the fantastic model based on a velociraptor in the film Jurassic Park. Velociraptors in the film are much larger than they would have been in reality. It is also now widely thought they would have had feathers. Despite the 'Jurassic' title, most of the dinosaurs featured in the film actually lived during the Cretaceous period. There are some photographs of the Timewarp below.
Where can I go for dinosaur resources?
There are many resources online but we are big fans of the Natural History Museum. You can check out their dinosaur pages here.