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Your donation will help ensure that Australia’s fossil, cultural and natural heritage is not lost to science or the Australian community but discovered, preserved and accurately documented for perpetuity.

Donate and become a supporter of the Outback Gondwana Foundation.


Introducing the Scientists

The scientists associated with the Outback Gondwana Foundation are uncovering the cultural, geological, floral and faunal diversity of the Eromanga Basin in South- West Queensland. The collection currently includes internationally significant dinosaur, megafauna & microflora finds.
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Supporter

If you would like to become a supporter of the Outback Gondwana Foundation please view the supporters page.

Scientists

Outback Gondwana Foundation

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DR SCOTT HOCKNULL

Honorary Palaeontologist, Outback Gondwana Foundation
Senior Curator Geosciences, Queensland Museum

Lead Research Scientist, Eromanga Dinosaur Project

BSc (Hons 1A) University of Queensland

PhD University of New South Wales

Scott’s story is one of boyhood passions and dreams of studying dinosaurs andScott Hocknull.  Photo: © Outback Gondwana Foundation.  Text: Queensland Museum palaeontology coming true, when he was appointed Assistant Curator of Palaeontology and Geology at the Queensland Museum at the age of 22, making him the youngest curator of any Australian museum.

Scott began his professional career in palaeontology in 1994 at the age of 16, when he published his first scientific paper, making him the youngest scientific author in Australia. Scott volunteered at the Queensland Museum for ten years during school and university, collecting numerous new localities for the museum, some of which are hailed as the most significant of their type in the last 30 years.

Scott graduated from the University of Queensland in 2000 with First Class Honours. In 2006 he was appointed Curator of Geosciences.  Scott completed his PhD at the University of New South Wales, focusing on the evolution of Australia’s fauna, flora and climate over the last 4.5 million years in Queensland. He also researches, excavates and promotes Australia’s dinosaur fossil record. In 2002, Scott was awarded the title, ‘Young Australian of the Year’.

Recently, Scott has senior authored several children’s books on Australian dinosaurs and has been awarded the prestigious Geological Society of Australia’s Neville Steven’s Medal, for science communication in Earth Sciences. Scott has been acknowledged for his enthusiasm for science education in Australia by being made the youngest member of the Queensland Government’s Science State Taskforce.

 

Scott’s research projects include:

• The evolution of Australian rainforest faunas and their responses to climate change.

• Megafaunal extinction and responses of Quaternary vertebrates to climate change.

• Mesozoic faunas from Queensland, in particular the fossil faunas from the Winton

Formation.

• Evolution of Australopapuan agamid lizards.

• The fossil record of giant varanid lizards.

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DR BENJAMIN P. KEAR

Assistant Professor, Uppsala University

Department of Earth Sciences, Paleobiology

 

Dr Ben KearDr Ben Kear’s current projects include research into Cretaceous high-lattitude biotas, the evolution of Australian-New Guinean Mammals, the Cenozoic herpetofaunas in the Aegean region, and the evolution and paleobiology of Gondwanan Mesozoic marine vertebrates. It is this last which has led him to being involved with the Outback Gondwana Foundation after the discovery of a turtle fossil on Plevna Downs by Robyn and Stuart Mackenzie in 2009. Dr Kear was invited to attend the June 2010 dig and while there was part of the team that excavated ‘Gibba’, . He is currently working on the official classification of this Cretaceous chelid specimen.

In 2011, Dr Kear co-authored Dinosaurs in Australia with Robert J. Hamilton Bruce of the South Australian Museum. The book covers Mezozoic life on the Southern continent and includes images of the OGF team and ‘Cooper’s humerus found at the Plevna Downs site. It can also be purchased through our online shop and the proceeds raised help to fund the work of the Outback Gondwana Foundation.

More information about Dr Kear and his research can be found on the Uppsala University website.

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DR TIMOTHY PIETSCH

Research Fellow, Australian Rivers Institute

BAppSci (Hons), PhD

 

Dr Timothy PietschDr Timothy Pietsch has expertise in Fluvial Geomorphology and Optical Stimulated Luminescence (OSL). He has been involved at the 2012 OGF dig using the OSL technique to date the numerous megafauna fossilised skeletons discovered on the site.

More information about Dr Pietsch and his research can be found on the Griffith University website.

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DR CHRISTINE LAMBKIN

Curator of Entomology, Queensland Museum

BSc (Hons) / PhD University of Queensland 2001

Postdoctoral Fellow, CSIRO Entomology Canberra 2001-2007

 

Dr Christine Lambkin.  Photo: © Outback Gondwana Foundation.  Text: Queensland Museum.Christine Lambkin is a Curator of Entomology at the Queensland Museum and is responsible for the museum’s collections of Diptera (flies), Coleoptera (beetles), Orthoptera (grasshoppers), Hemiptera (bugs), Phasmatodea (stick insects), and a number of smaller insect orders.

Christine and Education Queensland staff, have developed a web-based learning resource for teachers and students, called the “Backyard Explorer Project”. This ecological study encourages students, between Years 6–9, to find out what native animals (especially insects) and habitats are found in their schoolyard, and to create a digital story about them. Supported by Education Queensland’s, e-learning vehicle, ‘The Learning Place’, the ‘Backyard Explorer Project’ has rolled out across Queensland, from the south-west to the tropical north.

Christine, Noel Starick and Arachnologist Robert Raven, have also instigated a biodiversity survey of the invertebrate fauna of south-west Queensland, called ‘Biodiversity West’. Malaise and pitfall traps, light sheets and sweep nets are being used to collect specimens from the: Culgoa Floodplains, Currawinya National Parks, Kooma Traditional Lands of Murra Murra and Bendee Downs Stations and the sustainably managed properties of Plevna Downs and Noonbah Station.

Find out more about Dr Lambkin

http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/organisation/staff/detail.asp?StaffName=Lambkin,Christine

Find out more about Dr Lambkin’s research

http://www.sasb.org.au/research/members/christine-lambkin/#flies

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DR ALEX COOK

Senior Curator, Geosciences, Queensland Museum

Project Palaeontologist, Eromanga Dinosaur Project

BSc (Hons) Geology (University of Wollongong)

PhD Geology/Palaeontology (James Cook University of North Queensland)

Dr Alex Cook.  Photo: Courtesy of Alex Cook.  Text: Queensland Museum.Growing up in a small mining town, Alex was encouraged towards a career in geology and completed a Bachelor of Science in Geology before obtaining his PhD in Geology and Palaeontology.

An interest in fossil reefs led Alex to North Queensland, to study the Devonian (410–354 million year-old) fossil reefs of Townsville’s hinterland. This gave him the opportunity to work on molluscs and stromatoporoids (extinct aquatic invertebrates thought to be classified among sponges). In 1992, Alex was appointed Senior Curator of Geosciences at the Queensland Museum, which introduced him to the fossil faunas and floras of Queensland’s Cretaceous Period.

Alex now works on the 380 million year old sequences of northern Australia as well as the 110-95 million year old rocks of Australia’s Artesian Basin. Alex has carried out extensive field work in Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales and has worked on the Devonian fossil deposits of China.

Alex is currently researching fossil tracks and trails, fossil marine reptiles, fossil reef systems, the origins of gastropod groups and the palaeontology of Cretaceous faunas in Queensland. He has been involved with the Eromanga Dinosaur Project since 2004, has worked as a full-time tutor at James Cook University, teaching students about stratigraphy, sedimentology and palaeontology and is the author of over 25 papers and books.

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DR ROBERT J RAVEN

Head of Terrestrial Biodiversity, Queensland Museum

PhD University of Queensland, 1981

CSIRO Post-doctoral fellow, 1983-1984, New York and Canberra

Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History, New York

Editor: Mygalomorphae, ZOOTAXA

Dr Robert Raven.  Photo: Robert Raven.  Text: Queensland MuseumRobert has described more species (280) of trapdoor, tarantula and funnelweb spiders from Australia and overseas than any author, living or dead. He is actively working on various araneomorph groups including the toad-eating Racing Stripe Spider (Miturgidae) and the Australian tarantulas.

Robert is currently working with fellow Arachnologist Barbara Baehr and Entomologists Christine Lambkin and Noel Starick, to investigate the spiders of South-west Queensland, through the ‘Biodiversity West’ project.

Find out more about Dr Raven

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DR BARBARA BAEHR

Research Officer, Biodiversity, Arachnology,
Queensland Museum

Staatsexamen, University of Tübingen, Germany

PhD, University of Tübingen, Germany

Associate Editor: ZOOTAXA

(Nicodamidae, Cycloctenidae, Zodariidae)

Council member, International Society of Arachnology
Dr Barbara Baehr.  Photo: Barbara Baehr.  Text: Queensland Museum.Barbara obtained both her Staatsexamen and doctoral degree (1983) in zoology/ecology at the University of Tübingen, Germany. Between 1984 and 1998 she was a scientific associate and employee at the Zoologischen Staatssammlung Munich, Germany. From 1996-1998 Barbara also taught invertebrate zoology at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich and conducted spider excursions for students. After several research stays in Australia (1994 Museum Perth, 1999 Museum Brisbane, Sydney, Perth), Barbara took over a research fellow position at the Queensland Museum, Brisbane in January 2000. At present, Barbara is a research fellow supported by a U.S. National Science Foundation, Planetary Biodiversity Inventory grant, on the taxonomy of world-wide Goblin spiders, family Oonopidae. Barbara has recently identified the Goblin spider on the property ‘Plevna Downs’, in south-west Queensland.

Find out more about Dr Baehr

http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/organisation/staff/detail.asp?StaffName=Baehr,Barbara

Find out about Dr Baehr’s research

http://www.australasian-arachnology.org/arachnologists/baehr

 

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PROFESSOR PAUL SERENO

Palaeontologist, University of Chicago, USA

President and Co-founder, Project Exploration http://www.projectexploration.org/

1979 B. S. Northern Illinois University (Biological Sciences)

1981 M. A. Columbia University (Geological Sciences)

1981 M. Phil. Columbia University (Geological Sciences)

1987 Ph. D. Columbia University (Geological ScienceProfessor Paul Sereno discovers human remains from the early Holocene (7700-6200 B.C.E) Gobero site complex, located in the Ténéré Desert in the southern Sahara in Niger.  Photo & Text: Courtesy of Paul Sereno.s)

 

In the 1990’s I began my long-time interest in Gondwana fossils, particularly those of Cretaceous age – a time when the southern continents were drifting apart. I began studying material from South America and led expeditions to Africa, which resulted in the discovery of many new exciting fossils. There was a revival of research on southern continents and I was keen to investigate unexplored areas of Australia of the same age. The geology of the Eromanga area was the right age, around 97 million years and promised a good chance of success. My visit to Southwest Queensland in 1998, (along with members of the Queensland Museum), was exciting and rewarding. Although no vertebrate fossils were found on that excursion, I had the opportunity to meet many locals, who were only too interested to hear my ideas of what could be hidden in the rocks under their feet. It was with great delight that I heard of the discovery of dinosaur fossils on Plevna Downs six years later and the continued success of their excavations.

 

These wonderful fossils are of international significance and add valuable information to the fossil record of dinosaurs in Australasia and the world. I sincerely endorse the work being undertaken by the Outback Gondwana Foundation to continue the discovery and study of this Australian fossil fauna.

 

The Eromanga Research Field Station and the long-term goal to establish a Regional Natural History Museum in Southwest Queensland will provide necessary facilities to safely house these large dinosaur bones and also facilitate other natural history discoveries and research.

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Dr Mary E. White

Paleo-botanist

Author of several books about the prehistoric world and the evolution of the Australian continent and its biota.

Dr White is a specialist in prehistoric plants and the environment. She has taken the issue of preserving ancient native rainforest personally and now runs Falls Forest Retreat. This retreat is situated in a protected rainforest on the mid north coast of New South Wales. This rainforest is remarkably similar to the vegetation of 45 million years ago when Australia was part of Gondwana.

Dr White has support the Outback Gondwana Foundations mission and has granted permission for the website to use of several of her maps sourced from her books.

www.FallsRetreat.com.au