Harrie is currently studying for her PhD at the University of Oxford, UK. She completed an MSci in Palaeobiology at University College London in 2014. Her research focuses on the evolution of arthropod moulting behaviours in the fossil record, which means that she travels to lots of different museum collections across the world to look at many fossils (mainly trilobites). She became interested in the natural world at a very young age, through voraciously devouring every available documentary on reptiles, dinosaurs, marine life and everything else. Rob Bredl (the Barefoot Bushman) was her idol. By the age of ten, she had decided on a career as a palaeontologist following repeated excited visits to natural history museums, notably the Royal Tyrell Museum in Alberta, Canada.
by Harriet B. Drage*1
Arthropods are one of the most successful groups of animals, in the present day and the fossil record. There are more than 1 million described arthropod species, and it has been estimated that there are at least 5 million more undescribed alive today (Fig. 1).
This makes up more than 80% of all known animal species! Arthropods also have an extremely diverse fossil record, extending back to the Cambrian Explosion 541 million years ago. For much of the Palaeozoic era (541 million to 252 million years ago), arthropods dominated marine ecosystems, and they have been significant components of all environments since then. The phylum Arthropoda encompasses insects (Hexapoda), crustaceans (such as shrimps and lobsters) and arachnids (such as spiders), a...