Palaeoentomologist Russell Coope (1930-2011) was a leading expert on the study of Quaternary fossil insects and a pioneer of the use of fossil beetles for the purpose of reconstructing environmental conditions during the recent geological past. He was adept at exploiting the opportunities to collect samples exposed by quarrying, building work and road construction projects, as well those available at moreconventional field sites. On the basis of this evidence he argued in the 1960s, against the then established orthodoxy, that some changes in climate were extremely abrupt. His academic career from 1955-1993 was spent at the University of Birmingham. After his retirement from Birmingham he was associated with Royal Holloway and continued to work in the laboratory he had established at home in the Highlands of Scotland, publishing his final paper in Nature the year before his death. He combined science, family life and close interactions with ‘wild’ animals, including falcons, deer, badgers and wildcats.