Hannah completed her MSci (Hons) in Geology and Physical Geography at the University of Birmingham, specialising in palaeontology. Her research interests focus on terrestrial and oceanographic palaeoclimates and their links to faunal turnover, particularly when assessing their applicability to modern climate change. Previously, she has developed the first comprehensive database of tetrapod fossil footprints from the Carboniferous and Permian of Great Britain. Hannah is also a keen advocate for science outreach projects, volunteering for the aspiring UNESCO Black Country Global Geopark and assisting the curation of specimens on the Virtual Natural History Museum.
She can be found at @HannahC_Bird on Twitter.
by Hannah C. Bird
Ichnology is the study of trace fossils, the physical evidence for the activities of organisms that lived millions of years ago. Trace fossils depict activities such as walking, resting, feeding and burrowing, which can be represented by tracks ranging from recognizable large footprints to long, grooved trails (Fig. 1). One organism can be responsible for multiple trackways: for example, the extinct invertebrate arthropods called trilobites are known to have produced the burrowing trace Cruziana as well as the resting trace Rusophycus.
Figure 1 — Examples of trace fossils preserved in non-marine environments (after Bromley, 1996), including scorpion trackways (1), crustacean burrows (5; Cruziana problematica), arthropod trackways (8, 9), fish swimm