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School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
September 20-22, 2012 (Thursday-Saturday)

To mark the completion of the 250th Bristol Palaeobiology Masters student, the publication of the 100th scientific paper by a Bristol Palaeobiology Masters student, and to welcome our two new members of staff, Dr Davide Pisani and Dr Jakob Vinther.

Thursday, September 20th

17:00-19:00: Meet in the Department for welcoming coffee, and head out for dinner

Friday, September 21st

09:00-10:00: Arrive in the Department, coffee and croissants; short tours of the newly redesigned palaeo laboratory, the new MSc room, and recent refurbishments.

10:00: The Bristol Palaeobiology Masters; overview of the current situation, plans for developments in the next ten years. Presentation and discussion led by Mike Benton.

11:00: Dr Davide Pisani (new member of staff, starting July 2012): 'The origin of vision: how genomics can complement the fossil record to improve our understanding of evolution.' Read more about Davide and his current work:

11.45: Dr Maria McNamara (new postdoctoral fellow, starting September 2012): Detecting the original colour of fossil birds, dinosaurs and insects.

**12:30-14:00: Student posters 1; sandwich lunch

14:00: The Bristol Dinosaur Project - report on the current Heritage Lottery-funded project, by Ed Drewitt

**14:30: open for contributions about public engagement projects, and anything else about current projects, from former Bristol students.

16:00: Dr Jakob Vinther (new member of staff, starting September 2012): 'Molecular Palaeontology and the evolution of animals - from DNA to fossil colors.' Read more about Jakob and his current work:

16:45: wrap-up and Happy Hour, hosted by first-year PhD students

18:00: Dinner, and socialising

Saturday, September 22nd

09:00-12:00: Meet in the Department, coffee and croissants; Continuing Professional Development; choose from the following training sessions, or try them all:

  1. 3D restoration of fossils from CT scans
  2. Hypermesh: finite element analysis experiments
  3. Molecular phylogenetics
  4. TNT: new techniques in phylogenetic analysis
  5. PAST: palaeontological statistics
  6. R: a whole new world of numerical palaeontology

**12:00-14:00: Sandwich lunch

14:00-18:00: Hands-on fossil session; new marine reptiles, Triassic and Jurassic microvertebrates from the Bristol fissures, Neoproterozoic animal embryos from China... Claudia Hildebrandt, Curator, will also lead tours of the fossil collection stores, in the basement (Pax Room, corridor) and the old drama space behind the Great Hall.

18:00: Drinks, dinner, and socialising.

Sunday, September 23rd

09:00-15:00: Field trip to classic Bristol fissures sites to help us collect fossil-rich sediment. Pub lunch in Aust. The trip will be informal, in shared cars, and with drop-offs at main rail and bus stations.

**Posters from current students. Please bring your own posters, if you graduated recently, or have interesting recent work to show. Also, we are looking for 10-minute ppt talks on research or related themes from recent and past MSc students

General planning

  1. If you want to come, please inform Mike Benton, at
  2. If you want to contribute a poster, a short public engagement story, or a research mini-talk, please also inform Mike. [** items in the programme]
  3. The Department will provide breakfast croissants and coffee throughout. Other meals (lunch; dinners) will be purchased locally.
  4. Attendees are responsible for their accommodation. You can start here: and

Thecodontosaurus illustration courtesy of Richard Deasey.
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Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Bristol, UK BS8 1RJ
Tel: +44 117 9545400  Fax: +44 117 9253385  Email:  Web: