A big night of palaeontology for Whyalla

Thylacoleo 2
A fossil skeleton of thylacoleo, the marsupial lion.

Fossils offer fascinating insights into the big questions of sex, death and evolution, as Whyalla locals will hear from a Flinders University palaeontology roadshow on September 12.

The event, which will feature several prominent academic experts in Australian palaeontology, will also act as a fundraiser for the James Moore Memorial Fund.

By providing funds for a regional student to experience palaeontology in the field, the Fund honours the memory of the young Whyalla-raised scientist who died in a car accident late last year. The inaugural recipient will be announced on the night.

The presenters at Whyalla’s Middleback Arts Centre from 6.30pm to 10pm will be Professor John Long, Associate Professor Gavin Prideaux, Dr Trevor Worthy and Dr Aaron Camens, and the event will be attended by Dr Lesley Moore, the late James Moore’s sister and another passionate palaeontologist.

It will be a wide ranging discussion of the field – Professor Long has recently traced back the origins of sex to ancient fish in Scotland, and has also described a West Australian fossil that shows sharks took a turn towards a bony skeleton before evolving their all-cartilage version.

Associate Professor Prideaux is a leading expert on extinct Australian mammals, including the marsupial lion, and is researching the reasons behind their extinction. Dr Trevor Worthy is involved in research that is shedding light on the sometimes unexpected evolution of Australasia’s big birds, the emu and the moa.

The $10 tickets are available from Spencer Gulf Bearings or the Whyalla Public Library.

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