Palaeontology isn’t all about adventuring into the desert to dig up rocks. Sometimes, the palaeontologists of the past managed to find so many fossil bones, they didn’t know what to do with them. These bones can lie forgotten in museum collection drawers for decades, until a PhD student comes along to study them.
Fortunately for me, some of the most commonly overlooked fossils are fragmentary, isolated bones belonging to tiny animals. As a palaeontologist who works on passerine birds, which are generally tiny (think robins and blue tits), I was very excited to go on my first museum trip to look at bird fossils. In December 2022, I visited several museums in southern Germany to poke through all the drawers that might contain some mystery bird bones.
Continue reading “Forgotten fossils: how museum collections can be a treasure trove”
4th Year Earth Scientist Ellie Austin reports on the GeoVarsity games
Perhaps spending your Saturday afternoon falling around in mud and losing football matches to people who refuse to refer to you as anything other than a “Tab” isn’t your cup of tea. But it must’ve been someone’s*, since the tradition of GeoVarsity football has been running almost every year (bar the pandemic) since 2006 (with the concept of GeoVarsity running back until the 1990s!).
GeoVarsity football began as a simple idea: invite some academics from ‘the other place’ round for a friendly game of football and see who has the best sporting ability (which is of course completely correlated to academic standing).
Continue reading “GeoVarsity competition back after 4 year hiatus”
Anna Prescott studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge and is now a Senior Engineer with CGL — a geotechnical consultancy. Anna discusses her move into industry and the role of an engineering geologist in this blog post.
Continue reading “What does it mean to be a Geotechnical Engineer? Anna Prescott explains”
Fossils of the Earth’s earliest animals appear abruptly in the geological record ~574 million years ago (Mya), and then suffer a mysterious decline in diversity just a few million years later ~550 Mya. Some researchers consider this biological change to be Earth’s first mass extinction event.
Continue reading “Exploring the environments inhabited by Earth’s earliest animals in Namibia”
We are four Earth Sciences undergraduate students from the University of Cambridge. We use samples from the Sedgwick Museum’s collections in our studies, so these placements were an exciting chance for us to work behind the scenes on current projects in the Museum. We each spent 1-4 weeks on a project during the summer of 2022, generously funded by the Friends of the Sedgwick Museum.
Continue reading “Friends of the Sedgwick Museum Summer Placements 2022”
I recently accompanied an intrepid group of Cambridge alumni on board the Ocean Endeavour as we sailed a section of the fabled Northwest Passage from West Greenland to the western Canadian Arctic.
Continue reading “Into the Northwest Passage: four billion years of Earth history”
This August, the Earth Sciences Department hosted a week-long summer school for college-level students, as part of the Sutton Trust programme.
The Sutton Trust is an educational charity which aims to improve social mobility and address educational disadvantage. The summer school is a widening participation programme open to state-school students and high-achieving students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Continue reading “Reflecting on the Department’s first Sutton Trust Summer School”
Alasdair Knight, a second year PhD student in the Department of Earth Sciences, reports back from the 2022 Goldschmidt conference in the blog post below.
Alasdair can normally be found researching the chemical reactions that occur between greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere and the rocks at Earth’s surface. These reactions are thought to have been important for keeping Earth within the correct temperature range for life to exist.
Continue reading “Cambridge at the Goldschmidt 2022 Conference”