Sprigg Lecture Series
The lectures commemorate the life of Dr Reg Sprigg AO, a remarkable South Australian geologist who discovered the world's oldest fossilised animals in the Flinders Ranges in 1946, now internationally recognised as the Ediacara fossils.
Dr Reginald Claude Sprigg AO
Dr Reginald Claude Sprigg AO established Beach Petroleum (now Beach Energy) in the early 1960s, and founded the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in 1963. He was vested an Officer of the Order of Australia and awarded Freedom of the City of London in recognition of his work in petroleum exploration and environmental conservation in the 1980s.
Reg Sprigg died in December 1994 and his ashes were scattered at Arkaroola.
The Sprigg Lecture Series is made possible by the generosity of our major sponsor Beach Energy and supported by Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and Bundaleer Wines.
|When:||30 July 2013
|Where:||Pacific Cultures Gallery|
|Cost:||Free. Bookings essential 8207 7090|
Professor Peter Sutton FASSA
Anthropologist, South Australian Museum
Senior Research Fellow, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide
Presented in collaboration with the Anthropological Society of South Australia.
In 2006 an old rusting trunk of written materials and photographs had been handed in by a member of the public.
Museum Anthropologist Dr Philip Clarke thought it contained old records from fellow colleague Peter Sutton's primary anthropological and linguistic field location. He was right.
The information inside the trunk about Aurukun in western Cape York Peninsula, Queensland.
This 'treasure chest' was the long lost tin trunk of pioneer Australian anthropologist Ursula Hope McConnel (1888-1957), lost no longer.
This talk will explore the significance of McConnel's life and work and the new light shed upon both by the trunk's contents.
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Professor Guy Narbonne
Research Chair, Queen's Univesity, Kingston, Canada
This Sprigg Lecture is part of Fossil Fest.
Although microbial fossils extend three and a half billion years backward into the Archean, large recognisable fossils did not appear until just before the Cambrian explosion of life, a fact noted even by Charles Darwin in writing The Origin of Species.
The oldest large and morphologically complex fossils in the world are the Mistaken Point assemblage of Newfoundland in eastern Canada (580-560 million years old). Mistaken Point fossils abruptly appeared coincident with a major rise in atmospheric oxygen and the meltdown of the last of the Proterozoic "snowball" glaciers.
The Mistaken Point fossils represent soft-bodied creatures living on a deep-sea bottom that were killed when they were catastrophically covered by eruptions of volcanic ash, exquisitely preserving them as fossils and forming "census populations" that can be studied using modern techniques in ecology. Most of these fossils are "rangeomorphs", an extinct experiment in fractal life that dominated early stages of animal evolution.
Younger Ediacaran assemblages in Russia, Australia, and Namibia show increasing soft-bodied complexity, including the appearance of bilaterian animals. The Ediacara biota disappeared abruptly 540 million years ago, most likely due to competition and predation from the evolving animals of the Cambrian explosion.
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Professor Steve Donnellan
Head of Evolutionary Biology Unit
South Australian Museum
Professor Steve Donnellan will highlight exciting discoveries made from the Australian Biological Tissue Collection (ABTC) and how advanced DNA technologies are set to "liberate the genomes" of long-dead animals held in the Museum since in the 1860s.
The South Australian Museum is custodian to the ABTC – the largest in the Southern Hemisphere – with nearly 130,000 tissue samples of animals, fish, birds and plants kept in giant freezers in the Museum's basement.
The miniscule tissues at the South Australian Museum are literally scientific treasures. The collection is priceless because of the effort it takes to gather the samples and because many of the samples are now irreplaceable. Many of the tissues are from species or populations which are now extinct, such as the Southern Gastric Brooding Frogs from southern Queensland, and the Long-eared Mouse from South Australia.
DNA analysis of these samples has helped convict criminals in Australian court cases, identify illegal imports, helped scientists across the globe study biodiversity and allowed local researchers to discover and identify new species.