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For many decades, there have been remarkably few fossils recorded from the Tournaisian Stage in the Early Carboniferous. This has been frustrating for vertebrate palaeontologists because during that period, about 20 million years, tetrapods evolved from being almost or completely aquatic, to being fully terrestrial, but we had no information about how this critical transformation took place.

Recently, as a result of considerable effort by Tim Smithson and the late Stan Wood, an abundance of fossils, not only tetrapods, but also fish, plants and invertebrates, has been found in Northumberland and the Borders Region of Scotland. This project is studying these fossils and the environments in which the organisms lived.