Friday, 3 June 2011

Mr Wood

A guy walking past as I put the sign out the other day suggested changing the shop's name to Mr Stone's Fossils. A few friends asked when I bought the business whether it would become Mr Dale's Fossils. But it's not a name pulled from the air - there is a Mr Wood, and he set up the business in the first place. They really were Mr Wood's fossils.

Stan Wood was in the merchant navy. He sold insurance. And then he found a fossil, whilst walking his dog, and fossils took over his life. Something about his find sparked his interest and he quickly learned more on the subject. Stan has a vital thing for fossil hunters - the eye. Where others see rocks, he sees fish. It didn't take Stan long to become an expert in the obscure fauna of Scotland's Palaeozoic, and he worked with Glasgow University's Hunterian Museum and others to provide scientifically important material for study. During this time he discovered the famous Lizzie - Westlothiana lizziae - and the shop's logo, the stethacanthid shark Akmonistion zangerli, as well as a host of other rare and wonderful animals. Stan has not only featured in a series by that hero of natural history, David Attenborough - Lost Worlds and Vanished Lives - but was also the subject of his own BBC documentary, Stan, Stan, the Fossil Man. He has a string of creatures named after him and a discovery record to match any. As fossil hunters go, he's a celebrity. And he's still going, wading through the rivers of The Borders to find material that will soon be on display in a special exhibition in the National Museum of Scotland, before touring the country.

It's a name to be proud of, so it's always going to be Mr Wood's Fossils.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

And so it should be.