Last night, I was honoured to have spoken at the final evening lecture at the Cambridge Science Festival, along with Nick Crumpton, Anjali Goswami, Rob Asher, and Stephanie Pierce, about why palaeontology is important. Below is a rough transcript of some of what my talk was about. Unlike the others, I didn’t discuss my own research. Instead, by general gist was that although palaeontology is useful in addressing some of the greatest scientific questions of our time, like the evolution and history of life on Earth, the current narrow framing of science in terms of impact is being quite detrimental to creativity and exploratory science. As such, should palaeontology be more focused on its emotive qualities, and be used as a ‘hook’, or ‘gateway’ into the other fields of science?
Sharing this purely because it’s amazing. Hat-tip to John Hutchinson for sharing!
For some time now, there has been much debate about whether our beloved dinosaur, Triceratops, is a distinct species, or a younger version of a bigger ceratopsian, Torosaurus – the great Toroceratops’ debate. Proponents of both sides of the argument have made detailed quantitative and qualitative points, and there doesn’t really seem to have been any resolution. Check out the video below for a great discussion of the issues, or this link or this link.
The meteoric impact that wiped out the non-bird-line dinosaurs is an iconic image of life and death on Earth. It signifies a point in time when life changed forever. It took from us animals that we will never see again.
But was it just a single strike that created these winds of permanent change? The crater from Chicxulub in Mexico is the scapegoat for taking dinosaurs from us, but did it have a partner in crime?
Weighing in at about 180km in diameter, the Chicxulub impact was enormous. Imagine that hitting today – it would be the size of many small countries and islands, and devastate humanity.