Abstract: The Flinders Ranges represents the only place left in the planet where a person can “walk” from 800 to 500 million years ago: the rest are all broken up into small windows of geological time or have been eroded away through the eons. The oldest sedimentary rocks in this succession are present in Arkaroola and, as we move southwest, we get into younger rocks which preserve evidence of the two largest glaciations the world has seen: the Sturtian and Marinoan glaciations, the time known as “Snowball Earth”; followed by the base of the Ediacaran Geological period (with the “Golden Spike” in Brachina Gorge, Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park), the appearance of complex multicellular life, among them the earliest animals (best represented in the brand new Nilpena Ediacara National Park), and the transition to the world we live today, with the "Cambrian explosion” and the unequivocal record of most animals groups we see in our modern oceans, with reefs, mineralised skeletons, predation, and capacity to swim and burrow. The audience will also get to ear the prelimary results of the recent projects funded by NASA and Australian Research Council on the Ediacara Biota.
Bio: Diego was born, raised and studied in Spain, where he got his BSc in Zoology (1997) and PhD in Palaeontology (2002) from the Complutense University in Madrid. Diego has now settled in Australia, but has previously carried out long research stays in Canada, US, UK and Germany. He studies the early evolution of animals after the Cambrian ‘explosion’: the rise of complex life on Earth, 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 research team excavating the slightly older fossil site of Emu Bay Shale in Kangaroo Island. In the last 7 years he has also been working on the Ediacara Biota from the Flinders Ranges, with the goal of finding the links of these strange organisms with the Cambrian faunas. Diego has done palaeontological fieldwork from Morocco to the US, from China to Argentina, and even been privileged to visit Antarctica with an Adelaide group. Diego has written almost 100 research papers (including 3 in the journal Nature), book chapters and popular articles, presented over 80 international conference communications, and led research projects with around $4 Million in funding.
Members and visitors are warmly invited to attend and to stay for supper following the meeting. No booking required. If the door to the Mawson Building is closed, ring the FGC doorbell to left of the door for admittance. Note that the door to the building will not be monitored after 7 pm (and there will be no doorbell - too disruptive!) so please be sure to arrive on time. The door will however be opened briefly for latecomers just before the main lecture starts, at around 7:15 pm.
Please be warned that there is no wheelchair access to the lecture theatre.