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DinoFest 2022 Speaker: Dr. Maria McNamara

Dr. Maria McNamara

Title of Lecture: Fossil color: the study of the original coloration of ancient organisms

Lecture Description: Fossil color – the study of the original coloration of ancient organisms – has emerged as an exciting new discipline in palaeontology. Many studies have focused on the color of feathers in ancient birds and other dinosaurs. But did you know that traces of color are preserved in other fossil animals? Dr. McNamara will discuss how we know if the evidence for fossil color is real or not, and summarize research to date on these topics, with a flavor of future research.

Bio: Maria is Professor of Palaeontology in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork, Ireland. She researches soft tissue preservation in fossils, especially on fossil color and feather evolution by using powerful lasers, beams of light and X-rays to uncover the chemistry and tiny details of cells and tissues in fossils. Maria also conducts experiments in the lab to help understand how these ancient materials become fossilized. She is a strong proponent of scientists engaging with the public to help diversify paleontology and STEM more broadly, and to inspire an appreciation of the natural world amongst the public.



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