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GSL Public Lecture: Jurassic brain teasers – using modern technology to get inside the heads of dinosaurs (and other fossils)

26 February 2020
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Organised by:
Geological Society Events, The Palaeontological Association, 2020 Year of Life
The Geological Society, Burlington House
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Traditionally, palaeontology is a descriptive discipline focusing on the characterisation, comparison and description of the preserved remains of long-extinct organisms. This has not substantially changed over the years.

However, recent technological advances have revolutionised the field of palaeontology. New technologies, such as computed tomography (CT) scanning, now allow the visualisation and study of fossils in unprecedented detail, while modern computer simulations and biomechanical analysis techniques let palaeontologists explore the function and behaviour of fossil animals.

Although there are still many things we do not know about life in the past 500 million years, this new field of virtual palaeontology has brought us a lot closer to reconstructing and understanding the biology and ecology of extinct organisms. This lecture will explore the new technologies used in modern palaeontology and demonstrate how much information can be obtained from a few “old” bones.

This lecture is also a part of the Palaeontological Association's 'Innovations in Palaeontology' lecture series, and Stephan Lautenschlager is the PalAss Exceptional Lecturer.


Stephan Lautenschlager, University of Birmingham

Stephan is a vertebrate palaeontologist and Lecturer for Palaeobiology at the University of Birmingham. He holds a PhD from the University of Bristol and degrees in geology and palaeontology, as well as in software engineering from a previous life as professional software engineer.

Stephan’s research focuses on using computer simulations, digital visualisation and virtual reality to study the form and function of fossil vertebrates, including dinosaurs, early mammals and sabre-toothed cats.


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Videos of past lectures can be viewed in our past meeting resources area.

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