Fossils – Curios or the Key to Life? Science Express

Fossils – just dusty old curiosities? Hear how technology can unlock the secrets of life on Earth from these natural time capsules.

Recent advanced computer power is turning collections of fossils into valuable research tools. Paleontologist James Crampton explains how scientists can use them to help answer questions such as:

  • What controls the number of species alive at any time?
  • Are species locked in an endless battle for resources?
  • Does evolution happen in frantic bursts, or do species adapt constantly to the prods and pulls of a changing environment?
  • Are there predictable, regular, and unthinkably terrifying crises that annihilate most life on this planet?

Recorded in July 2015 as part of Te Papa’s Science Express programme.

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Image: Fossil plant specimen., circa 1864, by John Buchanan. Te Papa (1992-0035-2279/72)

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