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Conservation Palaeobiology: utilising the fossil record to address the current biodiversity crisis

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Earth is currently experiencing a biodiversity crisis, in large part driven by a combination of anthropogenic activities and environmental change. The relative evolutionary severity of this crisis is difficult to determine, but has been suggested to represent a ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’. But is such a claim is valid? This talk will explore several aspects of the modern and geological records of biodiversity in an attempt to answer this question. How do we compare evolutionary turnovers separated by millions of years and operating on vastly different timescales? How complete are modern and fossil diversity datasets? And is there anything we can learn from the fossil record that could assist efforts to minimise or even reverse modern biodiversity decline?

This talk is part of the Sedgwick Club talks series.

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