Published as Volume 10 in the Geological Review Series of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the primary task of this commissioned book was to identify and notify geological Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) which would then come under the protection of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).
Professor Benton is a leading academic in the field of British Vertebrate Palaeontology, and this book is an extensive work of original research, fully referenced: over 1,150 literature sources are cited. It is illustrated throughout with geological maps and tables, reptilian specimen drawings and reconstructions, and on-site photographs. It describes in detail his final selection of 50 SSSIs, explaining the special interest, palaeontological significance and heritage value of the specimens which each site has yielded. It goes far beyond the official requirements, providing a valuable reference source on the history of British vertebrate palaeontology, and an authoritative synopsis of current scientific opinion regarding the status and significance of British fossil reptiles.