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Recent updates

Conifers-under-UV-B-lampsUCMP paleobiologists shed new light on ozone shield failure, forest sterility, and mass extinction
February 7, 2018

Members of the Looy Lab – Jeff Benca, Ivo Duijnstee, and Cindy Looy – co-authored a paper in the journal Science Advances.  It details exciting new findings from experimental research on the effects on UV-B induced stresses on forest decline during the end-Permian extinction. Read more in the University press release. View the video:

The Deccan Traps today. Photo courtesy of Mark RichardsA new destination for disaster enthusiasts
January 5, 2018

The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg or K-T) mass extinction — the event in which the non-avian dinosaurs, along with about 70% of all species in the fossil record went extinct — was probably caused by the Chicxulub meteor impact in Yucatán, México. However, scientists have long wondered about the massive volcanic eruptions that were occurring in northwestern […]

Top:  Annie Alexander watches Eustace Furlong in a quarry on the east slope of Saurian Hill. Bottom: The approximate location of the same quarry today. Top photo from Alexander’s Saurian Expedition of 1905 scrapbook, UCMP archives; bottom photo by David Smith.Exploring Annie Alexander’s Saurian Expedition of 1905
December 15, 2017

Read Annie’s illustrated chronicle (includes over 90 photographs) of a Nevada field expedition she financed and participated in 112 years ago. Also, see what the Nevada locality looks like today and learn more about the expedition’s participants.

DescendingA Pleistocene pit-stop: the Barnosky lab excavates Natural Trap Cave, Wyoming
November 23, 2017

You might think that an 85-foot-deep hole where a bunch of horses, wolves, camels, elephants, and plenty of other animals accidentally plummeted to their death over tens of thousands of years would have enough red flags to make going into it yourself sound like a bad idea. But what if these unfortunate critters could tell […]

UCMP graduate student Larry Taylor teaching at Los Medanos Community College. Photo courtesy of Briana McCarthy.Guest lecturing at Los Medanos Community College
October 6, 2017

Roughly 10 million students attend American community colleges each academic year, accounting for more than a third of all American undergraduates. Relative to their peers at four-year institutions, community college students are much more likely to come from lower income households, much more likely to be members of an underrepresented minority group, and much more […]

Predatory drill holes in ~4 million-year-old bivalve and gastropod shells from the Netherlands. Not only mollusks, but also other organisms such as crabs can be victims of drilling predators. Check out this spectacular  video! First and last image from Klompmaker (2009, PALAIOS). Scale bar width = 2.0 mm.What do traces of predators tell about ancient marine ecosystems?
September 8, 2017

Reconstructing biotic interactions is crucial to understand the functioning and evolution of ecosystems through time, but this is notoriously difficult. Competition in deep time cannot be readily seen except for overgrowth of one organism by another under the assumption that both were alive at the same time. Parasites usually do not preserve because they are […]

Photographs of Rhyncholampas gouldii (Bouve) (Cassidulidae) in aboral, oral and posterior view (from left to right).Understanding the evolutionary history of the cassiduloid echinoids
July 6, 2017

It is widely recognized that major groups evolve at different rates, in their own evolutionary trajectories. Some evolve fast and are very diversified while others evolve slowly and may never experience an explosion of diversity throughout their trajectory. One of my research interests is understanding the pace of morphological evolution through time, and the organisms […]

The author measuring lizard specimens at the AMNH in New York City.Surprising new finds in museum specimens
May 23, 2017

I am very grateful to have received a UCMP Graduate Student Research Award via the Barnosky Fund in April 2016. I used these funds to collect pilot data from major natural history museum collections around the country for my dissertation research. My research investigates responses in fossil animal communities to climate change over long time […]

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