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DinoFest 2022 Speaker: Dr. Jasmina Wiemann

Jasmina in a lab.

Title of Lecture: A colorful journey through the evolution of non-avian and avian dinosaur eggs

Lecture Description: Birds are the only living amniotes with colored eggs. However, both the nature of egg color and its evolution are unknown. Dr. Weimann will discuss how she used a novel tool called Raman microspectroscopy to trace egg color evolution in dinosaurs. These new results suggest that egg color originated in small meat-eating dinosaurs called eumaniraptorans, coinciding with the evolution of open nesting habits. In contrast, egg color has been lost several times within modern birds along with the adoption of hidden nesting sites, suggesting that different egg colors: (1) camouflage eggs to prevent nest predation; (2) identify individual eggs in shared nests; and (3) motivate the parents to maximize parental care after hatching.

Bio: Jasmina is the Trimble & Barr Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences of the California Institute of Technology. She is a molecular paleobiologist with broad interests in the fossilization of biomolecules and the biological signatures they carry. Jasmina’s research actively contributes to the current “Molecular Revolution” of the geological and paleontological sciences by developing new molecular proxies and building a mechanistic understanding of organo-mineral interactions on Earth and in Space.