Earlier this year, I was interviewed by Ivy Shih about my work on Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine. That article is now online here, discussing the value of museum collections in reconstructing the life (and death) of this iconic Australian predator.
Just in time for the holidays, you can now read about your favourite subterranean worm lizards here!
Last night Andrew Pask and I received a Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research (Team), for our integrative work on Tasmanian tiger.
Thylacine – it’s the gift that keeps on giving!
Last Thursday I was part of a discussion panel for the ABC radio show Science Friction called ‘Back from the Dead’. Euan Ritchie, Ben Novak and I explored different facets of the controversial de-extinction process, including – Will it happen? What is the technology? And if we can, should we bring back extinct species?
You can listen to it here.
Last Friday Andrew Pask and I hosted 20 students and 2 teachers from the Bachelor of Science (Blended) Research Camp, as part of a shared program between Pune University in India and University of Melbourne. We presented our work on Tasmanian tiger, and they got to see first-hand where many of our specimens are stored. A special thanks to Simon Hinkley and Katie Date for their tours of the entomology and vertebrate collections, giving these students a unique behind-the-scenes look at Melbourne Museum.
This week I joined the Species Survival Commission (SSC) Skink Specialist Group for the IUCN, with the hope that I can use my X-ray computed tomography skills to help identify and describe Australian skink diversity.
The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) is a global network composed of many such specialist groups, made of volunteer experts dedicated to conservation, species reintroduction, climate change, wildlife health and sustainable use and trade.
In addition to being a researcher, I choose to be an advocate for the animals I study.
This past June when I was in Hobart for Dark Mofo, the wonderful Kathryn Medlock, Senior Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery [TMAG], gave me a behind-the-scenes tour of their offsite collections. There I had the honour to hold one of the original thylacine pouch young specimens that we scanned for our paper on Tasmanian tiger development, A930, shown below. This little male joey, about 9 1/2 weeks old, was brought to TMAG with its sister and mother as a bounty animal from Campbell Town in 1902. The location of its sibling is still unknown, showing just how rare and valuable these specimens are.
I’m working this month in China, and had the pleasure to visit the Shanghai Natural History Museum – one of the best I have ever seen (sorry Berlin!). I’m trying to find relevant contacts there for any type of vertebrate biology or paleontology. If anyone knows someone, please send me a message!
Our paper with Andrea Villa from University of Turin on “Comparative cranial osteology of Blanus species (Squamata, Amphisbaenia)” has been accepted in Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.
My application to the Australian Academy of Science to host a Boden Research Conference in October 2019 was successful!
The conference topic, Evolutionary transformations in vertebrate history, will focus on the latest techniques for reconstructing evolutionary transitions in the 500-million year history of vertebrate life, such as colonisation of land by tetrapods and secondary invasion of water by whales, feathered flight in dinosaurs, and live mammalian birth. Details of the conference program and registration coming soon!
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