University of Leicester eBulletin

University of Leicester 'Fossil Imagery' Research Rated Among Top 10 in UK

April 2003

Research compiled by an expert from the University of Leicester has been designated as one of the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) top 10 research achievements of the year.

Along with experts from the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol, Professor of Palaeontology David Siveter, of the Department of Geology, has developed a new way of reconstructing fossils of soft-bodied creatures preserved as crystals by creating a three-dimensional image, using computer graphic technology, of the creatures.

[Virtual fossil - ventral view]
Virtual fossil - ventral view
[Virtual fossil - dorsal view]
Virtual fossil - dorsal view

Professor Siveter’s main research interests include lower Palaeozoic stratigraphy and invertebrate palaeontology, particularly micropalaeontology, Palaeozoic myodocoper and the origin of pelagic ostracods (Arthropoda), and biostratigraphy of Ordovician and Silurian ostracods.

He said: “Our understanding of the history and biodiversity of life relies on the fossil record, and especially on rare cases of exceptional preservation where soft parts of animals and entire soft-bodied animals are preserved.

“Our recently discovered 425 million year old fossil site in Herefordshire is one such deposit, and is emerging as a palaeontological discovery of  global importance.

“The fossils are from a time period for which we have hardly any information about soft-bodied faunas, and reconstructing their detailed morphology is crucial in helping to fill a gap in our knowledge of the evolution of life and to resolve controversies about the relationships of groups of animal still alive today. We are delighted that the quality of our research should be recognised by NERC.”

The United Kingdom's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which rated the research as among the top 10 for 2002, provides independent research and training in the environmental sciences. Their aim is to gather and apply knowledge, improve understanding and predict the behaviour of the natural environment and its resources.

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Last updated: April 2003
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