Virtual palaeontology: bringing the first animals to life in 3-D
3 June 19:00
Palaeontology has been transformed by the development of methods for creating 3-D models of fossils, which are providing important new insights into past lifeforms. Modern X-ray imaging allows researchers to study the internal anatomy of specimens at astonishing, micrometre-scale resolutions without causing any damage to the fossil itself. Moreover, computer models and simulations enable scientists to test long-standing theories regarding the palaeobiology of extinct organisms. In this talk, Dr Rahman will introduce some of the new techniques that are being applied to the oldest fossil animals. He will also discuss the challenges and opportunities facing this virtual world of palaeontology.
Dr Imran Rahman is a palaeontologist at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Imran’s research is concerned with the origin and early evolution of animals. This work focuses on a pivotal interval in Earth’s history, the late Ediacaran–Cambrian (~571 to 485 million years ago), which was characterized by the first appearance of large and complex organisms and the explosive diversification of some of the earliest animals (the Cambrian explosion). Imran uses 3D models and computer simulations to reconstruct the form and function of long-extinct animals, shedding light on their ecology and evolution.