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Tag: Simon Darroch

Simon is currently a graduate student in palaeobiology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, supervised by Derek Briggs. He completed a bachelor’s degree in geology from Durham University, UK, in 2005, and then a master’s degree in palaeobiology at the University of Tokyo, Japan, in 2008. He is active in three main avenues of research: investigating the spatial palaeoecology of mass-extinction events, testing the quality of the fossil record using microfossils, and investigating the palaeobiology of enigmatic Precambrian Ediacara biota.

Contact Details:

Simon Darroch, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8109, USA.

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

Patterns in Palaeontology
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 and fossil samples from around this boundary to study how the make-up of fossil communities changed in response to this extinction event: this is palaeoecology. The boundary itself couldn’t be easier to spot — the lower (and older) part of the cliff is composed of a pale white-yellow limestone packed full of fossils of shelled marine invertebrates including brachiopods, bivalves and gastropods, as well as microscopic sea-floor-dwelling (benthic) crea