Search Results for: Volume is "3"

Life as a palaeontologist: Palaeontology for dummies, Part 1

by Russell Garwood *1 pa·lae·on·tol·o·gy / pa·le·on·tol·o·gy noun /ˌpælɪɒnˈtɒlədʒi/ or /ˌpeɪlɪɒnˈtɒlədʒi/ — The scientific study of prehistoric life. Introduction Palaeontology. If you’re reading this, it is likely that you’ve already encountered this particular corner of the scientific world, and know what it involves. If not, welcome: I think palaeontology is awesome and I hope that […]

Fossil Focus: Heterostraci

by Joseph N. Keating*1 Introduction: The Heterostraci (which means ‘different shield’) make up an extinct group of jawless fish that lived during the early to middle Palaeozoic era, approximately 440 million to 359 million years ago. They were exceptionally diverse, with over 300 species currently described from marine and freshwater sediments of North America, Europe and […]

Patterns in palaeontology: An introduction to ancient DNA

By Peter D. Heintzman*1 Introduction: Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA for short, is the magical molecule that encodes instructions on how to build organisms, and has been doing so successfully for at least the past 2.5 billion years. Although its function has remained constant throughout this time, the instructions themselves have been slowly modified and upgraded […]

Patterns in Palaeontology: Why the thunder lizard was really the deceptive lizard.

by Chloe Marquart1 When I tell the average stranger that I’m a palaeontologist, the first question that I’m inevitably asked is: “Like Ross from Friends?” The second is: “Have you named any dinosaurs?” The naming of fossils is actually a very small part of the work that palaeontologists do, but it often garners the most attention […]

Patterns in Palaeontology: Exceptional Preservation of Fossils in Concretions

by Victoria McCoy*1 Introduction: Have you ever seen a geode — a boring-looking ball-shaped rock that, when split open, reveals a remarkable crystalline interior? For most people, the first reaction to the dazzling crystal interior is to marvel at its beauty. But for some — and perhaps you fall into this group, since you are reading […]

Patterns in Palaeontology: Development in the Fossil Record

By Jo Wolfe*1 Introduction: Development, the process by which a single egg cell transforms into a complex adult organism, has fascinated biologists for more than 200 years. In the mid-nineteenth century, before and during the time when Charles Darwin was uncovering the principles of natural selection, a number of biologists who wondered what caused evolutionary […]

Patterns in Palaeontology: Who’s there and who’s missing?

by Simon Darroch*1 Introduction: Sitting in the sweltering heat of southern Japan, I’m faced with a conundrum. The limestone cliff in front of me preserves the boundary between the Permian and Triassic periods, a point in time around 250 million years ago that witnessed the greatest mass extinction of the Phanerozoic eon. I’m collecting rock […]

Fossil Focus: The evolution of tree-kangaroos

by Christine Janis1 Ladies and gentlemen, I give you tree-kangaroos. These wonderful animals can, in myriad ways,  demonstrate the power of evolutionary biology and geology in explaining the patterns we see in modern ecosystems. Here, I want to show how palaeontologists can piece together multiple lines of evidence to understand the evolutionary relationships of fossil […]