The Huxley Lecture - The Deep History of Life, Presented by Professor Andrew Knoll, Harvard University

Law Building Lecture Theatre 1
Tuesday 26 January 2016 (17:00-18:00)

Helen Jones


The interplay between life and environment plays out on many scales, but none more dramatic than the largest - planetary in extent and billions of years long. Fossils of shells, bones, tracks and trails record a history of animal evolution more than 600 million years in duration. Earth, however, is some four and a half billion years old, prompting the question of what kinds of life characterized our planet’s youth and middle age.

Genealogical relationships among living organisms, inferred from molecular sequence comparisons, suggest that the deep history of life is microbial, and over the past three decades paleontologists have discovered a rich record microorganisms in rocks that long predate the earliest records of animals. Moreover, emerging geochemical research on the same rocks establishes a long term record of environmental change that provides a critical framework for evaluating evolutionary history.

Together, paleontological and paleoenvironmental research foster the view that Earth and life have co-evolved over our planet’s long history, together shaping the world we see today. Please confirm attendance to Helen Jones.