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Why I think the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary is super important

Mass extinctions are insanely catastrophic, but important, events that punctuate the history of life on Earth. The Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary, around 145 million years ago, was originally thought of to represent a mass extinction, but has subsequently been ‘down-graded’ to a minor extinction event based on new discoveries. However, compared to other important stratigraphic boundaries, like… Read More »

The greatest mass extinction in the history of life

This was originally posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=1204 In palaeontology, there are so many things more important than dinosaurs. For example, the study of large-scale patterns in the history of life on Earth, commonly known as macroevolution, is all about uncovering patterns of speciation and extinction. We are currently about to enter the sixth mass extinction within the… Read More »

The Cambridge Science Festival

This originally appeared at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=1152 Last night, I was honoured to have spoken at the final evening lecture at the Cambridge Science Festival, along with Nick Crumpton, Anjali Goswami, Rob Asher, and Stephanie Pierce, about why palaeontology is important. Below is a rough transcript of some of what my talk was about. Unlike the others, I… Read More »

Was the diversity of feeding styles in giant turtles a key to their suckcess?

This was originally posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=883 ­Sometimes, it can be difficult to figure out how ancient organisms used to eat. Part of the problem is that we can never actually see extinct animals eating (until we invent time-travel.. *taps fingers impatiently at physicists*), and often it can be hard to work out how something ate based… Read More »

Green tea and Velociraptors turns into beer and dwarf crocodiles

This was originally posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=825 I’m in Berlin. I’ve just managed to find a chicken donner kebab, and am pausing research briefly to write this. I’m currently on leave from London, with a ridiculously hectic couple of months ahead: I’ve just been to Munich to see a dwarf crocodile specimen, Alligatorellus beaumonti (from Bavaria), which conveniently… Read More »

So you want to be a palaeontologist..?

This was originally posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=792 Well, according to Sesame Street, all you need to do is sing the palaeontologist theme song! [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsx0gn8iTzg?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360] So forget studying, research, and years of training. Actually, it is pretty cool – it does show this; all you need to do to become a palaeontologist is have a fascination for… Read More »

Progressive Palaeontology, Leeds 2013

This was initially posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=644 Progressive Palaeontology (ProgPal) is an annual event where early career researchers get to demonstrate their research to an equivalent audience in a reasonably informal atmosphere. It’s also renowned as a mega p*ss-up, as everyone knows palaeontologists are chronic alcoholics (hence the dinosaurs with feathers hypothesis). This year, it was in… Read More »

Conservation biology – let's get integrated!

This was initially posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=600 Conserving our world’s biodiversity is currently one of the biggest challenges we face. I wrote a post recently about some of the issues palaeontologists face when trying to make our science relative to current conservation management and biodiversity issues (and have written elsewhere about this too). This is very much… Read More »