EGU Blogs


Progressive Palaeontology, Leeds 2013

Progressive Palaeontology (ProgPal) is an annual event where early career researchers get to demonstrate their research to an equivalent audience in a reasonably informal atmosphere. It’s also renowned as a mega p*ss-up, as everyone knows palaeontologists are chronic alcoholics (hence the dinosaurs with feathers hypothesis). This year, it was in the vibrant and cosmopolitan northern UK city of Leeds. Some of the research communicated there was pretty freaking sweet. You can find recordings of all of the talks on Palaeocast (at some point in the future), and the Twitter feed was #progpal if you want to see a historical live version of the event.

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Social Media for Science Outreach – A Case Study: That social media thang

This was initially posted at: as part of a series of case studies exploring how academics use social media.

Jon began university life as a geologist, following this with a treacherous leap into the life sciences with a course in biodiversity and taxonomy. Now undertaking a PhD in tetrapod biodiversity and extinction at Imperial College London, there was a brief interlude were Jon was sucked into the world of science policy and communication. He blogs at, tweets as Protohedgehog and co-runs an [infamous, probably] podcast series called Palaeocast. Jon can usually be found procrastinating in pubs, trying to exchange bad science, usually about dinosaurs, in exchange for food and beer.

Tell us a bit about you and your social media project

I’m currently a PhD student at Imperial College London, investigating the biodiversity patterns of tetrapods (anything with four limbs/wings/flippers) about 145 million years ago to see what we can figure out in a macroevolutionary sense, and whether we can find a ‘hidden’ mass extinction in the fossil record. I commit some of my time to 3 major social media platforms: blogging, tweeting, and podcasting, with a bit of Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and others on the side.  These activities are less of a project, per se, and more just stuff I do in parallel, and often with overlap, with my PhD research.

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New Palaeontology podcast series

Palaeocast is a little side project I co-run with Dave Marshall and Joe Keating. It’s a new podcast series focusing on Palaeontology (shocking), and about getting the science directly from the scientists. We recognise that science is a process, not a series of facts, and wish to convey this process; the methods, the ups and downs, the snake bites, the everything, and really open up the world of Palaeontology.

Our logo – cool eh!

We’ve got 4 episodes currently up, and more on the way!

Episode 1: The earliest fossils and the hunt for extra-terrestrial life, with Dr. Leila Battison (NASA)

Episode 2: The giant trilobite, Isotelus rex, with Dave Rudkin (ROM, Canada)

Episode 3: Amber, and parasitism in the fossil record, with Dr George Poinar (OSU, USA)

Episode 4:The fossil forests of ancient gilboa, with William Stein (NYSM, USA)

Please do check them out, and give feedback! If you have any suggestions for future episodes, drop a comment here, and we’ll see what we can do.