Tag: Rachel A. Racicot
Rachel is currently a postdoctoral research scientist at the Dinosaur Institute of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in Los Angeles, CA, United States. She completed a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2002, then worked in the University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT facility until she began her master of science work at San Diego State University, California, under the supervision of Dr Annalisa Berta. She earned her PhD in vertebrate palaeontology/geology and geophysics at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, in 2014 under the supervision of Dr Jacques Gauthier. She began her postdoctoral research at Howard University in Washington, DC. She is active in several fields of research including marine mammalogy, CT-based imaging, and phylogenetics.
Postdoctoral Research Scientist, The Dinosaur Institute, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Los Angeles, CA 90007, United States.
by Rachel A. Racicot*1
Porpoises are among the smallest of modern whales, but they are one of the most amazing groups. They use specialized high-frequency hearing and sound production, and they have one of the best fossil records of any marine mammal. Thanks to modern imaging technology, we have been able to learn about how porpoises are able to sense their environment through echolocation and how they evolved. I will be telling you a bit about a particularly interesting porpoise from the fossil record, Semirostrum ceruttii (‘Cerutti’s half-nose’), and using it as an example of how CT scans help scientists to explore ancient and modern anatomy.
What are porpoises?
People sometimes use ‘porpoise’ interchangeably with ‘dolphin’, but scientists use the term to refer to a dist