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  • The significance of the Ediacaran (550 mya) fossil record of South Australia for our Understanding of the Unfolding of Animal Life on Earth

The significance of the Ediacaran (550 mya) fossil record of South Australia for our Understanding of the Unfolding of Animal Life on Earth

  • Tuesday, July 09, 2024
  • 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Zoom Only
  • 72



Geography Matters

The unfolding of complex life on Earth is understood by a handful of localities globally. One of the best fossil records in the world (of any age) is preserved in South Australia and captures the early history of animal life. This record, first discovered by Reg Sprigg in the 1940’s is home to thousands of fossils of soft-bodied organisms that lived during the Ediacaran Period. These fossils record the advent of mobility, the oldest animal sexual reproduction, oldest animals in the water column and the first scavenging. This talk will be aimed at highlighting some of these important discoveries and putting them in the context of the evolution of life on Earth and the future of life on Earth.

Dr Mary Droser is a Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Riverside. She works in the area of evolutionary paleoecology, examining large-scale interactions between life and environments. In the last 20 years, with Australian colleagues, she has focused on the Ediacaran of South Australia publishing over 50 journal articles on this extraordinary fossil record. Topics include the earliest sexual reproduction, descriptions of new body plans, the advent of mobility and so on. She received the National Academy of Sciences Walcott Medal and the 2024 Paleontological Society Medal for her work on the Ediacara Biota.

Dr Droser will be in conversation with Associate Professor Diego Garcia-Bellido, University of Adelaide.  Diego studies the early evolution of complex life during in the Ediacaran and Cambrian, half a billion years ago. He excavated at the famous Burgess Shale Cambrian fossil locality in Canada between 1995 and 2000 and worked at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto for several years. In 2007 he joined the Australian research team excavating the Cambrian Emu Bay Shale in Kangaroo Island and for the last decade he has also been studying the Ediacara Biota from the Flinders Ranges, with the goal of finding the links of these iconic organisms with the Cambrian faunas.

When: 9 July 2024

Time: 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM AEST

Location: Zoom Only

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