Fossils have been vital to our understanding of the formation of the earth and the origins of life. However, their impact has not been limited to debates about geology and evolution: attempts to explain their existence has shaken religion at its very roots, and they have remained a subject of ceaseless fascination for people of all ages and backgrounds. In this readable and wide-ranging book, Keith Thomson provides a remarkably all-encompassing explanation of fossils as a phenomenon. How did Darwin use fossils to support his theory of evolution? What are "living fossils"? What fossils will we leave behind for future generations to examine? Beyond the scientific aspects, Thomson highlights the impact of fossils on philosophy and mythology, our concept of time, and today's popular culture. From the black market to the Piltdown Man, and from mythological dragons to living dinosaurs, fossils hold a permanent place in the popular imagination.