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Giants and fossils, climate change and burrowing into the past! Join us for a fascinating evening of talks looking at how conditions in the past may hold the key to understanding the future.
Walking in the shadows of giants
Megan Jacobs (Planet Earth Speaker)
Around 100 million years ago, North Africa was dominated by an enormous river system. This river and its floodplain was home to animals of immense size. Fast forward to the present day and this ancient river system is preserved as red sandstone exposed along an escarpment in the south of Morocco on the fringes of the Sahara Desert. Local villagers mine into the escarpment to uncover fossilised remains of these huge animals. Hardly any evidence of juveniles exist. However, in a small glass jar brought from a fossil miner, was a handful of tiny teeth which could change the story completely!
Heinrich Event 1: a slippery slope
Jack Prowting (Planet Earth Speaker)
Climate change is a topic that gets us talking as we are shown image after image of melting ice caps. At the end of the last Ice Age, ice was released into the North Atlantic Ocean. The effects have been recorded in the fossil record throughout the Mediterranean Sea, but how was the more isolated Adriatic Sea impacted? By studying foraminifera, a group of shelled microorganisms, conditions of the Adriatic Sea can be reconstructed at the surface and on the sea bed. But what can we learn from this? Could Heinrich Event 1 give us clues about the future of a world with climate change?
Neoichnology: from pie crust to remotely operated vehicles
Dr Nic Minter (Planet Earth Speaker)
Neoichnology is the study of trackways, trails and burrows produced by modern animals. The first experiments can be traced back to 1828 and William Buckland - involving crocodiles and tortoises walking over, amongst other things, pie crust. Whilst we might have moved on, the basic principle remains the same - to have analogue organisms interact with different substrates under controlled conditions. In this talk I will run through some of my own experiences; from sand pits with tarantulas and scorpions, to ants and CT scanners, and remotely operated vehicles exploring the deep sea floor.