Elsa Panciroli, No Small Problem: the challenges of popularising Mesozoic ratty things


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About the Talk

Everyone knows about dinosaurs, but what about the first mammals that lived alongside them? For scientists working on mammals from the Mesozoic, lack of public knowledge about these animals hampers effective science communication. Until recently, early mammal fossils have mainly comprised scattered teeth, and very few complete specimens. These diminutive creatures are often overshadowed by more ostentatious giant reptiles.

In the last twenty years, new discoveries and technology have kicked off a revolution in Mesozoic mammal palaeontology. With the many stunning complete fossils from China, plus increased availability of CT-scan technology and 3D printing, there was never a better time to popularise these underappreciated mammals, and their place in our evolutionary history.



Elsa Panciroli is a Scottish palaeobiologist currently researching the origin and evolution of mammals for her PhD at the University of Edinburgh and National Museum of Scotland. She is the only female member of Pal Alba, and also writes for The Guardian’s Lost Worlds Revisited science blog. You can find her on twitter @gsciencelady.