Fossil Explorer app

Key features

  • field guide to common fossils in Britain, covering nearly 90 fossil groups
  • interactive map of Britain and geological map overlay
  • illustrations and data for more than 1,200 fossils in the Museum collection
  • fossil content researched and checked by Museum palaeontologists
  • local geology information provided by the British Geological Survey

Uncover the ancient plant and animal fossils hidden beneath your feet. Download the free Fossil Explorer app.

Fossil Explorer is a field guide to the common fossils of Britain and will help you identify fossils based on where you find them.

Available for iOS and Android devices.

Use your device's geolocation technology to set your current location on the Fossil Explorer app's interactive map, or select an area you would like to explore.

The app plots the rocks present at your chosen location and provides a list of fossils known to occur in rocks of the same age.

Whether you want to discover ammonites along Dorset's Jurassic coast, marine reptiles in Whitby or trilobites in Girvan, this app can tell you more about your fossil finds.

Introductory facts and illustrations will help beginner fossil hunters get started, while specimen details will help more experienced fossil collectors delve deeper.

Users can create and share lists of fossils that they have found and set wish lists for future discovery.

The app currently covers England, Scotland and Wales.

Let us know what you think

This is an early version of the app and we would appreciate your feedback to help us develop it.

Please take a minute to complete a short survey after you have used the app.

Help and support

The app contains tips on how to get the best results when using the app, where to go for more information about fossils and how to get more involved with palaeontology.

The app requires a WiFi or mobile network connection for the interactive map to work.

If you experience problems with the app, please contact us. Tell us what's wrong and the mobile device you're using and we'll try to correct issues in future updates. We appreciate your help in improving the app.

Fossil hunting advice

Fossil hunting is a rewarding and relatively inexpensive activity. However, there are a few important things to remember.

  • Be aware of health and safety risks. Follow the Geological Association fieldwork guidelines.
  • You are free to collect fossils distributed loose along the British coastline, but there is a code of conduct and you shouldn't in most instances hammer fossils out of cliffs. Read more on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee website.
  • In other places you will need to get permission from the landowner.
  • Some locations (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) are protected by law. You can go and look, but you mustn't collect from them.

Get the app for free