College News

2014-15 ALLELE Series

Lecture on Dinosaur Trace Fossils Kicks Off Evolution Series’ Ninth Year

Dr. Anthony Martin will deliver the first lecture of the 2014-15 ALLELE series on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Biology Building auditorium (room 127).

Anthony Martin, honors program coordinator and professor of practice at Emory University College of Arts and Sciences, will present “Dinosaurs Without Bones: What Dinosaur Trace Fossils Tell Us About Evolution,” as part of the 2014-2015 Alabama’s Lecture on Life’s Evolution, or ALLELE, series at The University of Alabama. The lecture will be held Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Biology Building Auditorium,room 127, on the UA campus. Martin will discuss dinosaur trace fossils, which are mostly footprints, and what we can learn from them.

“He’s a very active researcher and a good speaker,” said David Kopaska-Merkel, chief of the petroleum technology and resources section at the Geological Survey of Alabama. “I think it’s especially interesting if you don’t know much about trace fossils because we actually see footprints everywhere. We go out in nature and it’s just one of those things you can apply in your daily life: If you go to the beach or if you go hiking, you can learn more about the world around you.”

Martin has taught at Emory for nearly 25 years. He has published several books, including “Dinosaurs Without Bones: Revealing Dinosaurs Lives Through Their Trace Fossils” (2014). His talk at UA will cover the main topics of this book and they connect with evolutionary themes.

His main research interest is ichnology, the study of plant and animal traces such as tracks, trails, burrows, nests and feces. He studies both modern and ancient traces. He has written numerous articles and abstracts on his research and has had his research recognized by The New York Times, BBC, National Geographic and more.

Trace fossils are used to reconstruct an organism’s behavior. While index fossils may show the anatomy of ancient creatures, trace fossils tell us more about how they moved and lived.

“If students want to know about dinosaurs or Earth’s history or anything like that, this is a great way to do that,” Kopaska-Merkel said.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

The 2014-2015 ALLELE series is supported by UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Alabama Museum of Natural History and the departments of anthropology, biological sciences, communicative disorders, geological sciences, philosophy, religious studies and others. Learn more about the series at evolution.as.ua.edu.