This superb visual directory profiles some of the most exciting fossils on the planet. Over 300 generic groups are named, described and dated, and feature colour photographs of some of the world's best specimens. These fossilized organisms are divided into three biological groups: plants, invertebrates animals and vertebrate animals. Prehistoric plant life includes Carboniferous horsetails and seed ferns as well as the first woody trees of the mid-Devonian, and more recent flowering plants. Invertebrate animal fossils - perhaps best-known from the long-extinct ammonites found along the world's seashores - are an exceptionally diverse group, comprising marine sponges, corals, shells, gastropods, starfish and sea urchins as well as dry-land scuttlers such as insects, spiders and scorpions. Some of the latter became trapped in the resin that oozed from ancient trees, and are beautifully preserved in pieces of fossil amber. Vertebrate animal life exploded with the arrival of jawed "bony fish" some 400 million years ago, and the book includes some spectacular three-dimensional chalky specimens. As backboned creatures evolved and diversified, some amphibious animals sought new territory, hauling themselves out of the water to herald the arrival of terrestrial life. Among the featured specimens of ancient land-dwellers are the fearsome claws and teeth of marine, winged and bird-foot dinosaurs, the folded wings of small rodent bats, the elongated skulls of the first equids, or early horses, and the skulls of the primates that became humankind's ancestors.