An alternative reading of the history of life: A perspective through the lens of the trace fossil record
9 September 19:00
The astounding diversity of animals and complex ecosystems in modern oceans is the result of evolutionary processes operating in deep geologic time. Our exploration of this distant past has relied heavily on the analysis of the body fossil record. This talk is an invitation to explore what we may call “the other fossil record”, comprising trace fossils (also known as ichnofossils), such as burrows, trails, tracks and borings. In this talk, I will show that major evolutionary events, such as the Cambrian Explosion, the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event, and the Mesozoic Marine Revolution have their own “ichnologic signature”. Our journey through time will allow us to see how burrowing animals have engineered their environments, become the architects of their landscapes, and changed the face of oceans in fascinating ways.
Gabriela Mángano is a Professor at the Department of Geological Sciences of the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Gabriela got her PhD at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina in 1994, and after post-docs in the US and China (and moving many times!), she and her family adopted Canada as their new home. She is an ichnologist “with broad interests”, who has worked in rocks of many different ages from the Precambrian to the Holocene. Gabriela’s focus on ichnologic research is centered on how the trace fossil record can provide a vivid reading of the history of life, essentially searching to unravel how trace fossils can expand our understanding of ecological interactions in the deep past. She has supervised over fifteen graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and foresees a bright future for Ichnology!