Tag: Ellen Currano

Ellen Currano is a palaeobotanist and assistant professor at the University of Wyoming in Laramie who uses fossil plants to investigate the response of ancient forest ecosystems to environmental perturbations. Understanding how ecosystems reacted to past changes allows us to better predict how modern ecosystems will respond to anthropogenic changes such as carbon dioxide-induced global warming. Current research in the Currano lab focuses on: 1) biotic response to climate changes during the hothouse Palaeogene period in the Western United States, particularly Wyoming; and 2) the evolution of East African terrestrial ecosystems over the past 30 million years. Outreach activities include co-founding The Bearded Lady Project: Challenging the Face of Science (http://thebeardedladyproject.com/), a documentary film and photography project that investigates our stereotypes of what a field scientist looks like.

Contact Details:

Dr. Ellen Currano, Department of Botany and Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA.

Life as a Palaeontologist: A thoroughly suitable job for a woman

Life as a Palaeontologist
by Ellen Currano1 “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” — J. R. R. Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring (Ballantine Books, 1954). Introduction: It was never part of my plan to become the (sometimes bearded) face of women in palaeontology. I was that first grader who fell in love with dinosaurs and set her heart on becoming a palaeontologist. Since I started college, my dream has been to work at the University of Wyoming, travel the world digging up fossils, publish papers in scientific journals and, if I was lucky, be asked to give public lectures on my work. In other words, I wanted to emulate the professors at the top-tier research insti