TENS of thousands of people descended on the west Dorset coast to fine tune their fossil knowledge and explore life as a scientist.

The Lyme Regis Fossil Festival returned last weekend, with a whole host of activities, events and, of course, hundreds of minerals and fossils.

A lantern procession from the Marine Theatre, along the seafront, to the harbour helped kick-start the festival on the Friday.

It was a new addition to the weekend celebrations this year and took place at dusk, with children showcasing their tissue and willow ichthyosaurs an plesiosaurs, which were illuminated to create a wonderful spectacle.

Martin Maudsley brought his captivating and humorous story-telling to the festival, visitors had the chance to meet Mary Anning and Charles Darwin and budding scientists were able to learn more about fossils and dinosaurs.

Members of B Sharp and local students performed their concert, ‘Evolution Rocks’, at the Marine Theatre on the Saturday evening. The group created original songs and tracks on the theme of evolution and took the audience on a journey through time of light, sound and music.

Talks on current environmental and marine issues, microplastics in the Antarctica and Southern Ocean, fossils and the prehistory of the British Isles, how birds have descended from dinosaurs, the Bindon Landslip and thinking like a scientist, as well as walks exploring the geology of Lyme Regis, also took place throughout the weekend.

Jon Doody, of Lyme Regis Fossil Festival, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to see so many happy faces at the fossil festival this year. we estimate that well over 10,000 people attended this year and we couldn’t be happier.

“The passion, enthusiasm and dedication shown by all the wonderful exhibitors and performers over the weekend ensured that children and adults alike were totally enthralled, entertained and educated.

“We have no doubt that the festival helps to inspire the next generation of scientists and we will be working hard to ensure that next year will be even better.”

For more information on Lyme Regis fossil Festival, visit www.fossilfestival.co.uk