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Lapworth Lecture: Bones of Contention: How palaeontology’s past shapes our understanding of the history of life on Earth
Part of the Lapworth Lecture Series

Speaker: Dr Emma Dunne, University of Birmingham

The fossil record is fundamental to our understanding of the history of life on Earth. However, various taphonomic, geological and anthropogenic factors have been shown to introduce biases into estimates of past biodiversity. Decades of research have documented and attempted to analytically mitigate the effects of these biases, but considerably less attention has been paid to how historical, social and economic factors influence our understanding of the past. In this talk, we will explore how the legacy of colonialism and socio-economic factors, such as wealth, education and political stability, impact the global distribution of fossil data, as well as how extractive research practices (‘parachute science’) in palaeontology can shape our understanding of ancient life and how it evolved, while focusing on what steps are being taken to ensure that future research is more equitable than in the past.

May 30, 2022 05:30 PM in London

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