Before anyone can get really stuck into palaeontology, an understanding of how fossils are named and classified is a useful starter. Immediately one is confronted with Latin which to many is the stuff of nightmares, but is actually really pretty straightforward in its use in science. Basically, fossils are classified according to the binomial system developed in the 1800s. Here, living things are classified according to a series of groupings in what is called the taxonomic hierarchy.
By the way, if anyone out there (a post graduate perhaps?) has any thoughts on this subject or anything to contribute, drop me a line. Remember, I’m just an Open University mature student, delving into something that has fascinated me for ages but hasn't done anything about it, until now!