IAS Fellow's Lecture - Fossil treasures from the Cambrian of Gondwana: shedding light on early animal evolution
The Cambrian Radiation of animal life heralded the emergence and rapid diversification of the major animal (especially bilaterian) body plans as well as the birth of animal-based ecosystems. Recent studies of exceptionally preserved fossil assemblages exemplify how important, and sometimes unexpected, details of anatomy, ontogeny, development and morphology are for understanding and deciphering how (and when) the key morphological features that define the major lineages of complex animals were assembled and evolved.
During this interval of expansive biotic radiation Australia and Antarctica where locked in a deep tectonic embrace near the equator, forming Cambrian East Gondwana. The sediments and fossils deposited during this interval provide ample evidence of a shared geological, palaeontological and palaeogeographic heritage. Using specific examples (published and unpublished) from the remarkable treasure trove of exceptionally preserved fossils from Cambrian East Gondwana (including spectacular new soft-bodied discoveries from the Emu Bay conservation Lagerstätte) Professor Brock will illuminate the importance of fossil evidence as a means to unravel the pattern of evolution within bilaterian body plans.
This lecture is free and open to all.
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