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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

Death, Sex & Evolution

Dr. John Long

IN THIS RIVETING STORY about his remarkable discoveries from the Gogo fossil site in the Kimberly district of Western Australia, the Australian paleontologist John Long, now Vice President of Research and Collections at the Natural History Museum of L.A. County, takes us beyond just reconstructing animal morphology and into the realm of restoring ancient behavior. Long drills down deep on how we know what we know about the past, what the boundaries of knowledge are with respect to studying fossils, and how exceptional fossils contribute to reshaping our perspectives on evolution. Dr. Long, the author of the classic books The Rise of the Fishes and Swimming in Stone, compares the Hollywood view of evolution versus the scientific visage of natural history. As well, Dr. Long will explore how complex ideas in science — such as global climate change — are easily dismissed by those who are skeptical of the scientific consensus that global warming is real because the basic level of scientific literacy to begin to understand the problem involves a high level of either multidisciplinary knowledge or a high level of trust in science and how it works.

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