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Scotland’s Place in Earth’s History – by Professor Aubrey Manning

The story of life in Scotland – including our own story – is inextricably linked to the history of Earth itself.  It’s reasonable to begin when the plate tectonics of our dynamic planet began to assemble a bit of the crust we can label ‘Europe’  – about 500 million years ago.

Throughout I want to emphasise the links between evolving life and the evolving planet, each affecting the other in dramatic ways.  Life has faced several major crises, not all fully explained yet, but so far has emerged ever more diverse.  That seems set to change. We can trace the origins of Scotland’s present natural history to the last retreat of the ice and the human settlement which followed.  For the first time humans began to modify the land and its inhabitants and the changes which began then in the Bronze Age still mark our country today.

Professor Aubrey Manning, Emeritus Professor of Natural History


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