The most important onshore Paleogene deposits of Britain are the classic sequences of the London and Hampshire basins, SE England, which have been studied almost since the first interest in rocks and fossils developed in this country. Ostracods were identified and reported from these sequences relatively early (e.g. Jones 1854), following shortly after the key stratigraphical works of Joseph Prestwich published between 1846 and 1855, although not as early as continental workers recorded Cenozoic ostracods (e.g. Minster 1830). At the time of writing the authors are not aware of any significant published records of British Paleogene Ostracoda from outside the classic onshore sequences of SE England, and the present chapter primarily concerns that region. However, the occurrence of ostracods in offshore basins is briefly reviewed below.
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This book charts the stratigraphical distribution of ostracods in the Cambrian to Pleistocene deposits of Britain and outlines their utility for dating and correlating rock sequences, as well as indicating aspects of their palaeoenvironmental and palaeogeographical significance. These small bivalved crustaceans are the most abundant arthropods in the fossil record. Indeed, the stratigraphy of Britain, which embraces many type-sequences, provides a particularly rich and full record of them, from at least the basal Ordovician, and from the British Cambrian there is a biostratigraphy based on their ‘relatives’, the bradoriids and phosphatocopids. Ostracod distributions demonstrate the ecological success story of the group, occupying as they do marine, non-marine and even ‘terrestrial’ habitats. Written by current specialists in the field, this book is an authoritative account and will be welcomed by all micropalaeontologists and applied geologists in the industrial and academic world alike. It is richly illustrated with over 80 plates of electron micrographs and specially drawn maps, diagrams and range-charts.