I'm very pleased to report that after a decade in development – off and on – my colleagues Mark Sutton, Alan Spencer, and I have published a paper documenting a model for simulating evolution, and a software implementation of this. The program is called REvoSim. The software employs digital organisms, and incorporates spatial relationships, spatial and temporal environmental variation, and recombinant reproduction. The software is highly efficient, and thus can simulate evolution over long time scales, with large population numbers. As such, it can model macro- as well as microevolution: for example, isolation of gene-pools (i.e. speciation) emerges naturally from simulations under appropriate conditions. We're releasing it in the hope that it can act as a multipurpose platform for the study of many evolutionary phenomena; while it was designed with macroevolutionary studies in mind, it is also applicable to microevolutionary problems. A full description of the model is available in the paper, published in the journal Palaeontology:
Garwood, R.J., Spencer, A.R.T. & Sutton, M.D. In press. REvoSim: Organism-level simulation of macro- and microevolution. Palaeontology. doi:10.1111/pala.12420
In order to release the source code for this, and other software, we have also created a GitHub organisation called Palaeoware. This hosts the code, and features Windows and Mac builds for the software, as well as simple build instructions for Linux. The package also comprises a utility program called EnviroGen for creating REvoSim environments. More information is available on the Palaeoware GitHub REvoSim repository, and documentation is available through ReadTheDocs. A release candidate for v3.0.0 of the tomographic reconstruction software SPIERS has also been released recently in a Palaeoware GitHub repository.
Several further software packages are currently in development. pLEASE DO follow Palaeoware on twitter for updates.
I'm pleased to report that a new paper has appeared, led by colleagues in Material Sciences at the University of Manchester. In it the team, which I was fortunate enough to be a member of, use very high resolution CT scanning to understand how cracks grow in the exoskeleton of arthropods (in this case a beetle), and how the microstructure slows this process. The publication details, and a graphical abstract, are below.
Sykes, D., Hartwell, R., Bradley, R.S., Burnett, T.L., Hornberger, B., Garwood, R.J. & Withers, P.J. 2019. Time-lapse three-dimensional imaging of crack propagation in beetle cuticle. Acta Biomaterialia 86: 109-116. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2019.01.031
Interesting times are afoot when it comes to how we try and work out the evolutionary relationships between living groups of organisms. I've written an overview of what is happening for Palaeontology [online]. This explains how we build evolutionary trees, and how this has changed, and is changing now. Please do check it out.
Garwood, R. J. 2018. Patterns in Palaeontology – Deducing the tree of life. Palaeontology Online 8(12):1-10.
It's been a couple of months since I updated my website. In this time, two papers to which I have contributed have been published. The first assess the potential impact of neutron tomography – which we tried at the beamline IMAT – for studying fossils and other life sciences samples:
Burca, G., Nagella, S., Clark, T., Tasev, D., Rahman, I.A., Garwood, R.J., Spencer, A.R.T., Turner, M.J. & Kelleher, J.F. In press. Exploring the potential of neutron imaging for life sciences on IMAT. Journal of microscopy. doi:10.1111/jmi.12761
The second paper is one led by Callum McLean, who has previously completed an MPhil at the University of Manchester, and is now a PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University. It provides an overview of sexual dimorphism within the arachnids:
McLean C.J., Garwood R.J. & Brassey C.A. 2018. Sexual dimorphism in the Arachnid orders. PeerJ 6:e5751 doi:10.7717/peerj.575
It's been a great pleasure to be involved in both these studies and to work with such talented colleagues. Also since my last update, two PhD projects supervised, or co-supervised, by myself have been advertised as part of the University of Manchester BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. Further details are available via the links below:
Please do email me if you are interested in either.
I recently had the pleasure of collaborating on a paper with two of my colleagues from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the Uniersity of Manchester. In it we report the chemistry and structure (using tomography) of some 492 million-year-old, chrome-rich rocks from Shetland, which are also have high concentrations of platinum and palladium. The paper has now appeared in print, details below:
O’Driscoll, B., Garwood, R. J., Day, J. M. D. and Wogelius, R. 2018. Platinum-group element remobilisation and concentration in the Cliff chromitites of the Shetland Ophiolite Complex, Scotland. Mineralogical Magazine. 82(3): 471-490. doi:10.1180/minmag.2017.081.108
This is something else a bit different from my previous work – and also really interesting. Please do email me if you would like a copy.
A new paper I've been lucky enough to contribute to has just appeared, and it's a little bit different. For this publication my colleagues and I have filmed the leaps of jumping spiders in slow motion, and used the resulting videos to calculate the physics of their jumps. You can find more information about this work in the video below:
Details of the paper are as follows:
Nabawy, M. R., Sivalingam, G., Garwood, R.J., Crowther, W.J. and Sellers, W.I. 2018. Energy and time optimal trajectories in exploratory jumps of the spider Phidippus regius. Scientific reports, 8(1): 7142. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-25227-9 (More information: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
I am pleased to report that a paper to which I contributed that describes a 127-million-year-old juvenile bird, has just been published. I got to play with a rather large synchrotron CT dataset for this paper, in which we showed that the baby bird’s sternum (breast bone) was still largely made of cartilage. This fills in a number of blanks regarding the development of this early group of birds. You can find an accessible introduction to the findings here. The full details of the publication, are as follows:
Knoll, F., Chiappe, L. M., Sanchez, S., Garwood, R. J., Edwards, N. P., Wogelius, R. A., Sellers, W. I., Manning, P. L., Ortega, F., Serrano, F. J. and Marugán-Lobón, J. 2018. A diminutive perinate European Enantiornithes reveals an asynchronous ossification pattern in early birds. Nature Communications, 9(1):937. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03295-9 (More information: 1, 2, 3, 4).
In the summer of 2017 I was fortunate enough to contribute to the study of a remarkable fossil arachnid, which has just been published. The paper, led by Bo Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, features a 100 million year old new arachnid species, Chimerarachne yingi. What makes this fossil quite remarkable is that it very spider-like (it even has spinnerets to spin silk), but retains a flagellum, or tail, at the back of the body. The survival of such a lineage, which must have split from the spider line more than 300 million years ago and then survived for a further 200 million, is totally unexpected. The full reference for the paper is as follows:
Wang, B., Dunlop, J. A., Selden, P. A., Garwood, R. J., Shear, W. A., Müller, P. & Lei, X-J. 2018. Cretaceous arachnid Chimerarachne yingi gen. et sp. nov. illuminates spider origins. Nature Ecology & Evolution. doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0449-3 (More information: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Here is a reconstruction of the fossil showing what it might have been like in life, with a link to the paper:
Towards the end of last year I gave two talks in quick succession on the research of several colleagues and myself on simulating evolution using custom built software:
Garwood R. J., Sutton, M. D., Knight, C., Gomez, G, Sansom, R. S., Keating, J. N. & Spencer, A. R. T. 2017. Simulating evolution in space and time. (Talk; Invited Speaker). Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association, Imperial College, London.
Garwood R. J., Sutton, M. D., Knight, C., Gomez, G, Sansom, R. S., Keating, J. N. & Spencer, A. R. T. 2017. Modelling evolution in deep time. (Talk; Invited Speaker). Manchester Evolution Symposium.
My very talented friend and cartoonist DrJones of RatBot comics has kindly summarised these with the panel below, which I wanted to share:
You can find a wide range of other cool comics on her website. Also, the deadline for the PhDs available in palaeobiology topics (including those supervised by me, listed below) is in a couple of weeks. You can find more details about these, and other postgraduate, study opportunities here. Do get in touch if you are interested.
Earlier this year there was a meeting at the Royal Society, in London, titled The Rhynie Chert – our earliest terrestrial ecosystem revisited, organised by Professor Dianne Edwards CBE FRS, Professor Liam Dolan FRS and Dr Paul Kenrick. As part of this, I co-authored a talk, which went on to become a paper - that was released today:
Dunlop, J. & Garwood, R.J. 2018. Terrestrial invertebrates in the Rhynie chert ecosystem. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 373(1739): 20160493. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0493
This is a review of the land-based animals from this fossil site, focussing in addition on the possible ecological strategies and interactions within this ecosystem. Please do email me if you would like a PDF.
Another paper to which I have contributed has just appeared. This one was led by Luke Parry, from the Royal Ontario Museum, and reports some trace fossils (burrows) more than 542 million years old. We have reconstructed these using CT (shown in the image below), and propose that they were created by some of the first organisms capable of moving through the sediment (leaving these sedimentary structures in the process). This is particularly of note because of their age – they are found in rock layers older than any known fossils of complex creatures like animals. DNA studies (which can be used to estimate how long ago a group originated) suggest the origin of animals may well date from before these burrows were formed. We suggest in the paper that the burrows – which are really small – are evidence that there were animals with muscle control around before their fossils appear in the fossil record, and the reason we have missed them to date is that they are so small. Hence the deepest splits in the animal tree may well have occurred in really small organisms living in sediments >550 million years ago. The full citation of the paper is below; do email me if you would like a copy.
Parry, L.A., Boggiani, P.C., Condon, D.J., Garwood, R.J., de M. Leme, J., McIlroy, D., Brasier, M.D., Trindade, R., Campanha, G.A.C. Pacheco, M.L.A.F., Diniz, C.Q.C, Liu, A.G. 2017. Ichnological evidence for meiofaunal bilaterians from the terminal Ediacaran and earliest Cambrian of Brazil. Nature Ecology and Evolution. In press. doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0301-9
Also, I'm offering a number of PhD projects next year at the University of Manchester, if you would like to come and work with us here. Topics include:
If any of these sound of interest, please do get in touch. Full descriptions will be posted when available. You would be joining part a thriving cross-disciplinary research area at the University of Manchester. There are a large group of academic staff and associated researchers here addressing evolutionary and palaeobiology questions through studying ancient life. This is supported by Manchester’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Ancient Life and the Computational Biology group in the Evolution, Systems and Genomics Domain.
A new paper, led by Alan Spencer of Imperial College, has just been published. This work uses synchrotron tomography and digital visualisation (shown below) to investiages a ~143 million year old seed from the UK's Oxford Clay. The full details for the paper are as follows:
Spencer, A.R., Garwood, R.J., Rees, A.R., Raine, R.J., Rothwell, G.W., Hollingworth, N.T., & Hilton, J. 2017. New insights into Mesozoic cycad evolution: an exploration of anatomically preserved Cycadaceae seeds from the Jurassic Oxford Clay biota. PeerJ, 5, e3723. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3723
Four of the papers mentioned below have recently appeared in their final form, with the publication of Geological Society, London, Special Publication 448 - Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. The fossils featured cover more than 3000 million years of life history, and multiple groups of organisms, from early potential bacteria, through to insects and dinosaurs in the relatively recent geological past. They represent the breadth of topics in which Martin Brasier — a very supportive colleague, with whom I had the great pleasure of working — was interested.
Brasier, A. T., Cotton, L. J., Garwood, R. J., Baker-Brian, J., Howlett, E. & Brasier, M. D. 2017. Earliest Cretaceous cocoons or plant seed structures from the Wealden Group, Hastings, UK. Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 448 (1): 399–411. doi: 10.1144/SP448.21
Brasier, M.D., Norman, D.B., Liu, A.G., Cotton, L.J., Hiscocks, J.E.H., Garwood, R.J., Antcliffe, J.B., & Wacey, D. 2017. Remarkable preservation of brain tissues in an Early Cretaceous iguanodontian dinosaur. Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 448 (1): 383–398. doi:10.1144/SP448.3 (More information: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). [View]
Hickman-Lewis, K., Garwood, R.J., Withers, P., & Wacey , D. 2017. X-ray microtomography as a tool for investigating the petrological context of Precambrian cellular remains. Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 448 (1): 33–56. doi:10.1144/SP448.11
Wacey, D., Battison, L., Garwood, R.J, Hickman-Lewis, K., & Brasier, M.D. 2017. Advanced analytical techniques for studying the morphology and chemistry of Proterozoic microfossils. Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 448 (1): 81–104. doi:10.1144/SP448.4
Please do check them out, and — of course — email to request a PDF if one is not readily available.
Another paper has just been published — this one is a review, led by Mark Sutton, providing an overview of the 3D techniques in palaeontology — including serial grinding, X-ray microtomography, and digital visualisation.
Sutton, M.D., Rahman, I.A., & Garwood, R.J. 2017. Virtual Palaeontology - An Overview. The Paleontological Society Papers, 22:1-20. doi: 10.1017/scs.2017.5
Please do check it out — and email me if you would like a copy. I am also honoured to have been awarded the 2017 Wollaston Fund by the Geological Society of London, a prize awarded for contributions to the Earth Sciences on the basis of noteworthy published research.
The second of the two papers mentioned below is now online. This contribution, with colleagues from the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, and Western Illinois University, USA, provides a new overview and analysis of the fossil record and relationships of whip spiders:
Garwood, R.J., Dunlop, J., Knecht, B. J. & Hegna, T. A. 2017. The phylogeny of fossil whip spiders. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17:105. doi: 10.1186/s12862-017-0931-1
The first of two further papers appearing soon, mentioned below, is now available:
Davies, T., Rahman, I., Lautenschlager, S., Cunningham, J., Asher, R.J., Barrett, P., Bates, K., Bengtson, S., Benson, R.B.J., Boyer, D., Braga, J., Bright, J., Claessens, L., Cox, P.G., Dong, X., Evans, A.R., Falkingham, P.L., Friedman, M., Garwood, R., Goswami, A., Hutchinson, J.R., Jeffery, N., Johanson, Z., Lebrun, R., Martinez-Perez, C., Marugán-Lobón, J., O’Higgins, P., Metscher, B., Orliac, M., Rowe, T.B., Rucklin, M., Sanchez-Villagra, M., Shubin, N., Smith, S.Y., Starck, J.M., Stringer, C., Summers, A., Sutton, M.D., Walsh, S.A., Weisbecker, V., Witmer, L.M., Wroe, S.J., Yin, Z., Rayfield, E.J. & Donoghue, P.C.J. 2017. Open data and digital morphology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284(1852): 20170194..
This paper, led by a team from the Unviersity of Bristol, proposes guidelines for how tomographic (slice-based) data is archived along with papers. The suggestions are intended to make data more open, and studies more repeatable as a result. Please do check it out!
As a result of a busy term, I've neglected updating my website — but not for lack of things happening. In recent weeks, the following paper has appeared, which is another contribution to the Geological Society, London, Special Publication 448, Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier:
Brasier, A. T., Cotton, L. J., Garwood, R. J., Baker-Brian, J., Howlett, E. & Brasier, M. D. In press. Earliest Cretaceous cocoons or plant seed structures from the Wealden Group, Hastings, UK. Journal of the Geological Society - Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. doi:10.1144/SP448.21
This documents a number of structures found in ~140 million year old rocks, some of which we believe represent the remnants of insect cocoons (shown above), and other seed structures from plants. Since my last update, the following papers have been accepted and should appear soon:
Davies, T., Rahman, I., Lautenschlager, S., Cunningham, J., Asher, R.J., Barrett, P., Bates, K., Bengtson, S., Benson, R.B.J., Boyer, D., Braga, J., Bright, J., Claessens, L., Cox, P.G., Dong, X., Evans, A.R., Falkingham, P.L., Friedman, M., Garwood, R., Goswami, A., Hutchinson, J.R., Jeffery, N., Johanson, Z., Lebrun, R., Martinez-Perez, C., Marugán-Lobón, J., O’Higgins, P., Metscher, B., Orliac, M., Rowe, T.B., Rucklin, M., Sanchez-Villagra, M., Shubin, N., Smith, S.Y., Starck,
J.M., Stringer, C., Summers, A., Sutton, M.D., Walsh, S.A., Weisbecker, V., Witmer, L.M., Wroe, S.J., Yin, Z., Rayfield, E.J. & Donoghue, P.C.J. Accepted. Open data and digital morphology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Garwood, R.J., Dunlop, J., Knecht, B. J. & Hegna, T. A. Accepted. The phylogeny of fossil whip spiders. BMC Evolutionary Biology.
More on each when they appear in press - which should be in the next week. Palaeontology [online] is still going strong, with monthly updates since my last post. Do check them out — and admire the site's new look!
On the 10th of December, I'm giving a talk for the Manchester Geological Association:
Garwood, R.J. 2016. Digital techniques for understanding ancient life. (Talk; Invited Speaker). Manchester Geological Association.
It is free to attend, and held in the Williamson Building of the University of Manchester (opposite the Manchester Museum). Please do come along (more details). I'm also giving a similar talk for the Craven and Pendle Geological Society on the 13th of January:
Garwood, R.J. 2017. New techniques in palaeontology, and evolutionary transitions (Talk; Invited Speaker). Craven & Pendle Geological Society.
You can find more details on the society's website. A few more papers have been submitted, so I hope there should be an update or two in the first few months of 2017. In the meantime, happy christmas, and best wishes for the new year.
Another two papers, to which I am very pleased to have made a contribution, have recently appeared. Both are in the Geological Society, London, Special Publication 448, Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier:
Brasier, M.D., Norman, D.B., Liu, A.G., Cotton, L.J., Hiscocks, J.E.H., Garwood, R.J., Antcliffe, J.B., & Wacey, D. 2016. Remarkable preservation of brain tissues in an Early Cretaceous iguanodontian dinosaur. Journal of the Geological Society - Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. In press. doi:10.1144/SP448.3 (More information: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
Hickman-Lewis, K., Garwood, R., Withers, P., & Wacey , D. 2016. X-ray microtomography as a tool for investigating the petrological context of Precambrian cellular remains. Journal of the Geological Society - Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. In press. doi:10.1144/SP448.11
The first of these reports the possible preservation of dinosaur brain tissue in a Cretaceous (~133 million year old) fossil, and the latter uses lab-baseed CT scanning to try and understand more about a range of 3 – 1 billion year old cellular fossils. Please do check them both out! As ever there have been monthly updates at Palaeontology [online], the latest being an article on fossil acritarchs.
Next Tuesday I'll be talking at a Story Collider event associated with Manchester Science Festival. You can find more details here. I'm also currently advertising a PhD at the University of Manchester. This is based on the computational simulation of evolution, groundtruthed with wet-lab studies on bacteria and yeast. Full details are available here. Please do get in touch if you are interested.
I'm pleased to report the publication of a new paper, led by David Wacey (University Of Bristol, and The University of Western Australia). This is the first in a number of articles to which I contributed that will appear in Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 448, Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier.
Wacey, D., Battison, L., Garwood, R., Hickman-Lewis, K., & Brasier, M.D. (2016). Advanced analytical techniques for studying the morphology and chemistry of Proterozoic microfossils. Journal of the Geological Society - Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. In press. doi:10.1144/SP448.4
This uses a range of different approaches — including microtomography — to study ~1 billion year old fossils from Northwestern Scotland. Combined, these provide information on the morphology of these fossils, and their mineralogy.
A new paper has appeared, on which I have been working for a while with colleagues from the Natural History Museum, London; Harvard University; and several institutions in France:
Garwood, R.J., Edgecombe, G.D., Charbonnier, S., Chabard, D., Sotty, D., & Giribet, G. 2016. Carboniferous Onychophora from Montceau-les-Mines, France, and onychophoran terrestrialization. Invertebrate Biology: In press. doi:10.1111/ivb.12130 [View]
In it, we describe three new fossil velvet worms (Onychophora) — a group with a deep history, but very limited fossil record. We make the case that these could be land-dwelling animals, and even if not, they fall at a key point in the evolution of the group. Click on the image below to check out the paper, which is open access.
Finally, as ever, there have been monthly updates on Palaeontology [online] — there are lots of interesting articles to check out, which you can reach by clicking on the link below and visiting the site:
I'm pleased to be able to link to another new paper, this one with colleagues from the Universities of Oxford and Bristol, and the Natural History Museum, London, amongst others. It's something a bit new for me - in it we use a range of techniques to describe structures possibly associated with life in one of the oldest known sedimentary rocks: the 3.46-billion-year-old Apex Chert, Austrlia. More information below:
Hickman-Lewis, K., Garwood, R.J., Brasier, M.D., Goral, T., Jiang, H., McLoughlin, N. & Wacey, D. 2016. Carbonaceous microstructures from sedimentary laminated chert within the 3.46 Ga Apex Basalt, Chinaman Creek locality, Pilbara, Western Australia. Precambrian Research 278: 161-178. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2016.03.013 [View]
A new paper has just appeared, this one in Proceedings B:
Garwood, R.J., Selden, P., Dunlop, J.A., Spencer, A.R.T., Atwood, R., Vo, N., & Drakopoulos, M. In press. Almost a spider: a 305-million-year-old fossil arachnid and spider origins Proceedings of the Royal Society B. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0125 [View]
If you'd like some more info, you can read about the discovery here. That's it for now, but more coming soon!
It's been a long time since my last update - not because things haven't been happening, but because I've been a little too absorbed in them to remember to post them here! In fact, several things have happaned in that time. A new paper has appeared, playing with fossils a little older than I am used to - and describing some of the first biomineralising animals:
Streng, M., Butler, A. D., Peel, J. S., Garwood, R.J., & Caron, J-B. 2016. A new family of Cambrian rhynchonelliformean brachiopods (Order Naukatida) with an aberrant coral-like morphology. Palaeontology 59(2): 269-293. doi: 10.1111/pala.12226 [View]
The following finalised papers have also appeared in their respective journals since the last update:
We've also had monthly updates to Palaeontology [online] - click on the image below to visit the site:
Three more papers have recently been accepted: as soon as those appear I shall post links. I've also given lots of talks, all of which you can find on an updated publications page.
A couple more contributions have appeared. First is a paper with colleagues from Manchester, using micro-CT to better understand pathologies in the bones of birds and dinosaurs:
I also recently wrote an article introducing the basics of using compational techniques to understand fossils for McGrawHill:
Garwood, R.J. 2015. Analysis of fossil organisms using computer techniques. AccessScience. McGraw-Hill Education. doi:10.1036/1097-8542.YB150677
That's it for now, but more on the way!
Another paper to which I have been fortunate enough to contribute was published today, this time led by colleagues at Harvard and the University of New England. The paper documents twenty Anolis lizards in amber with the aid of micro CT. Details below:
Sherratt, E., Castañeda, M., Garwood, R.J., Mahler, L.D., Sangere, T.J., Herrel, A., de Queiroz, K. & Losos, J.B. . In press. Amber fossils demonstrate deep-time stability of Caribbean lizard communities. PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1506516112 [View]
Several new Palaeontology [online] articles have also appeared in the last few months. Click on the image below to visit the site:
One of the papers I mentioned below has just appeared in press - led by colleagues from Oxford, this reports the CT-based reconstruction of an early ray-finned fish called Cheirolepis. You can check it out here:
Giles, S., Coates, M.I., Garwood, R.J, Brazeau, M.D., Atwood, R., Johanson, Z. & Friedman, M.. In press. Endoskeletal structure in Cheirolepis (Osteichthyes, Actinopterygii), an early ray-finned fish. Palaeontology doi: 10.1111/pala.12182 [View]
It's been a busy few months (including a relocation!), with a number of papers coming out soon to show for it. The first of these is a new effort which recently appeared reassesses a number of fossils which were originally identified as spiders. With the aid of micro-CT, my coauthors, and I suggest that these in fact represent unusual Harvestmen. More details available at the link below:
Selden, P. A., Dunlop, J. A., & Garwood, R.J. In press. Carboniferous araneomorph spiders reinterpreted as long-bodied harvestmen. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology doi:10.1080/14772019.2015.1018969
Happy new year. I am very pleased to say that on the first of January, I joined the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester as a lecturer in Earth Sciences. Here is the official announcement.
There's also a new Palaeontology [online] article - Dinosaurs down under - available, by Stephen Poropat. To read, click below:
I'm pleased to report that I have been selected as one of the SSI's Fellows for 2015, to provide training in open source packages for tomographic reconstruction. You can find more details here.
Last week saw the appearance of a new paper that I've been working on with Joachim and Carolin Haug from LMU Munich, looking at the fossil record of insect development. In it, we provide an overview of the work on fossil insect nymphs to date, and the impact this work has on theories surrounding wings origins and development of complete metamorphosis in the insects. We also report novel descriptions of a number of fossil nymphs. More details at the link below:
Haug, J. T., Haug, C., & Garwood, R.J. In press. Evolution of Insect Wings and Development – New details from Palaeozoic Nymphs. Biological Reviews doi: 10.1111/brv.12159
Palaeontology [online] also has a new article - this one by Dave Hone, on Tyrannosaurs. Do check it out:
Another new paper has appeared in which my colleague Jason Dunlop and use high resolution CT to describe species from two extinct arachnid groups, based on fossils from the Carboniferous housed in the NHM, London (~315 million years old). The paper, also in PeerJ, also places most of the fossils we have reconstructed to date, and other very well-preserved fossils - into an analysis of the evolutionary relationships of the arachnids. You can access the paper by clicking on the image or citation below:
This is a featured article, and associated with this you can read an interview with me here on the journal blog. We also have a new Palaeontology [online] article on annelid worms by my friend a colleague Luke Parry. Please click on the logo below to check it out:
A new paper with colleagues from the Natural History Museum, and Imperial College, London, has appeared in the open access journal PeerJ. The publication reports a fossil cone revealed through CT scanning in a synchrotron. You can find more information by clicking on the link or image - which shows a CT slice through the cone - below:
Steart, D., Spencer, A. R. T., Garwood, R.J., Hilton, J., Munt, M. C., Needham, J. & Kenrick, P. 2014. X-ray Synchrotron Microtomography of a silicified Jurassic Cheirolepidiaceae cone: revealing and reconstructing the internal structure of an extinct conifer. PeerJ 2:e624. doi:10.7717/peerj.624
Our latest Palaeontology [online] article, courtesy of Rachel Racicot, introduces porpoises. Do check it out:
An article providing an overview of what a bunch of us have been playing with for the last few years has appeared in the latest issue of Science News. This featuring the work of my colleagues Imran Rahman and John Cunningham, and myself, amongst others. It also made the cover of the magazine - click for more information:
The article is paywalled, but please do email me if you would like a copy. There's also been a new Palaeontology [online] article since last time. This one is on Palaeoart, courtesy of Mark P. Witton:
Four papers to which Ihave contributed are now waiting to appear in press, so more soon.
A new paper has just appeared in press at the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. This paper - with colleagues from the University of Oxford and Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin - features a reconstruction of the trigontoarbid arachnid Trigonotarbus johnsoni, and the first cladistic analysis of the extinct trigonotarbid arachnids - part of an effort of mine in the last year or two to learn cladistics (more from this coming soon!). The paper can be accessed by clicking the journal name below, and I've included a neat reconstruction of a range of trigonotarbids to scale by my very-talented coauthor Jason Dunlop (scale bar 10mm).
Jones, F.*, Dunlop, J.A., Friedman, M., & Garwood, R.J*. In press. Trigonotarbus johnsoni Pocock, 1911, revealed by X-ray computed tomography, with a cladistic analysis of the extinct trigonotarbid arachnids. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (* = corresponding author)
Another two papers have just been accepted, and one more submitted since my last update - more details as these appear. In the meantime, do check out our latest Palaeontoloy [online] article on dinosaur palaeopathology by my very talented colleague at Manchester, Jennifer Anné (otherwise known as Indy). Click on the diseased dinosaur bone below for more info.
A new paper has just appeared, in which I - with my colleague Jason Dunlop from the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin - use fossils from the Devonian Rhynie Chert to work out the range of motion in an extinct arahcnid's limbs. We then use the open source software Blender to create a reconstruction of the animal's gait using its centre of mass and limb articulations. The supplementary information includes an introductory guide on how to use the software. This by no means comprehensive, and indeed, the study doesn't make use of all Blender's impressive capabilities, but hopefully it will lessen the application's learning curve. Details of the paper are below:
The paper has picked up some interesting press coverage, including: the BBC news website, New Scientist, io9, Motherboard, IFLScience, Discovery News, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and Entomology Today. I've embedded the video from the paper below, please do check it out!
Televised coverage includes ITN, and I did a live interview for BBC World News at their London Studio. In other news, Palaeontology [online] has just turned three, and we celebrate with a new article looking back over the previous three years. Link below:
That's it for now, but more soon.
There's been a slight break since my last update thanks to synchrotron beamtime and trips to Sardinia then the Faroes. In that time, a new paper has appeared from my colleague Jason Dunlop and myself, in which we use microtomography to highlight the palaeobiology of a Carboniferous arachnid Eophrynus prestvicii, and sort out the systematics of the group to which it belongs. Click on the image below to check out a copy - it's open access:
Dunlop, J.A. & Garwood, R.J. 2014. Tomographic reconstruction and palaeobiology of the trigonotarbid arachnid Eophrynus prestvicii (Buckland, 1837). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 59(2): 443–454. doi:10.4202/app.2012.0032 [View]
The following opinion piece also appeared in Nature today, outlining the two body problem, as it applies to academics, its origins and consequences, and what universities can do to mitigate its effects:
Any feedback or discussion on either of these publications is, naturally, very welcome. There have also been two new Palaeontology [online] articles since I last updated, on arthropod-plant interactions, and a group called the placodonts. Please do check them out:
Two more papers should appear in the next couple of months, so I'll update the website when those appear. In the meantime, in early July I'll be helping out with Manchester's stand at the Royal Society Summer of Science exhibiton. More details of the stand below. Please do come and say hello if you're attending.
A new paper has just appeared, in which my coauthors and I: describe a new harvestman species and suborder; conduct some molecular dating; and identify a vestigial signal in the embryological gene expression of an extant species for structures visible in the fossil. It seems to have sparked an interest, and press coverage so far includes Wired, National Geographic, Discovery, and Huffington Post. A clearer picture of the impact through the article's entry on altmetric. The paper is open access, and available at the following location:
Garwood, R.J.*, Sharma, P.*, Dunlop, J.A. & Giribet, G. In press. A Paleozoic Stem Group to Mite Harvestmen Revealed through Integration of Phylogenetics and Development. Current Biology (* = equal contributors).
Here is a closeup of the fossil itself:
The following paper has also just been accepted:
Jones, F.*, Dunlop, J.A., Friedman, M., & Garwood, R.J*. Accepted. A cladistic analysis of the trigonotarbid arachnids. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (* = corresponding author)
Since my last post there have been two new Palaeontology [online] articles, one on things called latitudinal biodiversity gradient, and one on dinosaur reproduction. Links below:
Finally, since I've just returned from a trip to work with colleagues in Uppsala, I thought I would post an image of one of the smally shelly fossils (the hard parts of some of the earliest animals) we were working on whilst I was there:
So that's it for now - more coming soon!
Hello from Berlin. I'm currently on an EU synthesys visit to work with colleagues at the Museum Fur Naturkunde. Whilst here, the following article has appeared:
Garwood, R.J. 2014. Life as a palaeontologist: Palaeontology for dummies, Part 2. Palaeontology Online 4(2):1-10. [View]
Following on from Part One which is linked below, Palaeontology for Dummies - Part Two is a brief introduction to the history of palaeontology, and how we got to where we are now. I hope it is interesting, please do check it out. The four papers mentioned below, plus a couple more, are now complete and approaching submission: I will post updates as they appear in the near future.
Happy new year! At the beginning of December the following publication went live:
Garwood, R.J. 2013. Life as a palaeontologist: Palaeontology for dummies, Part 1. Palaeontology Online 3(12):1-11. [View]
This provides an introduction to palaeontology highlighting what it is, what it is not, and also providing an overview of the field as it currently stands. I hope it proves interesting! Keep an eye open for part two - which outlines the history of palaeontology - in the near future. The Paleonturología 12 Prize Winner's Book is now also freely available, details below. Please do check it out. Furthermore an updated ebook with glossary, and hardback version of Techniques for Virtual Palaeontology is also now available:
Garwood, R.J., Dunlop, J.A., Giribet, G. & Sutton, M.D. 2013. Opiliones fósiles. Los arácnidos actuales de origen más remoto / Fossil harvestmen: The oldest surviving arachnids. ¡Fundamental! 23, 1–58 (Paleonturología 12 Prize Winner's Book). [view]
Sutton, M.D., Rahman, I. & Garwood, R.J. 2013. Techniques for Virtual Palaeontology. Wiley-Blackwell: 208pp.
Finally, we have another new palaeontology online for this month - this time about body size in fossils courtesy of Mark Bell. You can check it out at the link below:
I'm currently working on a four papers for submission in the first quarter of 2014, so more news will be forthcoming!
It's been another busy three months, hence the silence. In that time our Wiley entry to the Analytical Methods in Earth and Environmental Science series has finally appeared - currently it is available as an ebook, with hardback in January 2014. It can be purchased here:
The book associated with the Paleonturología 12 mentioned below is now in production and should appear in December. I've also given several talks over the last few weeks, which can be found in the section Publications. We have also posted three Palaeontology online articles in that time - two Fossil Focus pieces, one on encephalized bipedal apes, the other on Heterostraci, and an article on ancient DNA. Links below. Other than that, we have had a very successful beamtime at I12, Diamond Light Source, and been awarded beamtime at SLS, Switzerland. Several more papers are approaching completion, so watch this space!
It's been a while since I last wrote an update, largely because I've spent the last couple of months travelling and scanning. This has included a trip to Berlin to finish a trigonotarbid phylogeny, and build a new arachnid one with a colleague. The trip was a great success, and lots else has happened since the last update. The following paper has now been accepted, and I've included a preview of the model we've created and animated for the paper below:
Garwood, R.J. & Dunlop, J.A. Accepted. The walking dead: Blender as a tool for palaeontologists. Journal of Palaeontology.
The accessible account of our 2011 paper required for the Paleonturología 12 prize is also complete, including 18 figures. It will be used to print a small book in Spanish and English introducing terrestrialisation, CT scanning, and the fossil record of the harvestmen, which should be available from December:
Garwood, R.J., Dunlop, J.A., Giribet, G. & Sutton, M.D. Accepted. Fossil harvestmen. Paleonturología 12 (Prize Winner's Book).
The following paper has been submitted since last time:
Garwood, R. J., Sharma, P., Dunlop, J. A., & Giribet, G. Submitted. Early harvestman evolution: Perspectives from gene expression data and Palaeozoic fossils.
I'm also giving two talks in the near future, the ToScA presentation mentioned below, and a talk for TEDx Albertopolis Salon in early September. More details when I have them. You can also find me at this year's Science uncovered on the last Friday of September.
Finally, there are two new Palaeontology [online] posts - one on exceptional preservation of fossils in concretions by Victoria McCoy, and one on naming fossil species by Chloe Marquart. Please do check them out!
I've just returned from two weeks of fieldwork in northern Scotland, and the chrysalis paper, mentioned below, is now available to download here. It's open access. You can find coverage of the paper at the following links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. I've also been invited to speak at the first annual Tomography for Scientific Advancement event, or ToScA, at the Natural History Museum, London, this August. More details.
I'm pleased to report that our book - Techniques for Virtual Palaeontology - is now in production, so should be out in the next few months. The chrysalis paper mentioned below has now been accepted and will appear in press next Tuesday - some images from the paper are shown below:
Lowe, T., Garwood, R.J., Simonsen, T., Bradley, R.S., & Withers, P.W. 2013. Metamorphosis revealed: three dimensional imaging inside a living chrysalis. Journal of the Royal Society Interface: In press.
Left is the internal anatomy of a chrysalis of a Painted Lady butterfly one day after pupation, middle is the same individual after thirteen days, and right is the adult immediately prior to hatching from the chrysalis. If you keep an eye on the news you may see it around. In other news, the following paper has now been submitted:
Garwood, R.J. & Dunlop, J.A. In review (invited submission). The walking dead: Blender as a tool for palaeontologists. Journal of Palaeontology.
Which includes a step-by-step guide to using the open source raytracer Blender, and an anatomically accurate reconstruction of the Devonian arachnid Palaeocharinus based on fossils from the Rhynie Chert. This includes the animal's limb articulations and a video showing its likely gait. The following three papers are approaching completion and should be submitted by the summer:
Garwood, R. J., Sharma, P., Dunlop, J. A., & Giribet, G. In prep. Early harvestman evolution: Perspectives from gene expression data and Palaeozoic fossils.
Haug, J. T., Haug, C., & Garwood, R. J.. In prep. Evolution if Insect Wings and Devlopment: New details from Palaeozoic Nymphs.
Jones, F., Dunlop, J.A., Friedman, M., & Garwood, R. J. In prep. A cladistic analysis of the trigonotarbid arachnids.
Finally, we have two more new Palaeontology [online] posts since my last update. April's focusses on fossil communities and palaeoecology, whilst the article for May introduces a major fossil group: the trilobites.
I'm away on fieldwork for the second half of May, but I'm sure there will be another update upon my return.
Since last time the book on 3D reconstruction in palaeontology mentioned previously has been submitted.
Sutton, M.D., Rahman, I., & Garwood, R.J. Submitted. Techniques for Virtual Palaeontology. Wiley-Blackwell fast-track monograph.
It ended up being near 80,000 words - slightly larger than expected, but hopefully a comprehensive and useful addition to the literature for virtual palaeontology. The paper below has also been resubmitted with corrections:
Lowe, T. Garwood, R.J., Simonsen, T., Bradley, R.S., & Withers, P.W. Submitted. Metamorphosis revealed: three dimensional imaging inside a living chrysalis.
New Palaeontology [online] articles have also been posted, one for March on tree-kangaroos, and one new this month on how palaeontologists can work out what's missing from the fossil record by studying groups of living animals. Both are linked below. More papers in the works, so hopefully another update soon.
I've not updated the website for a couple of months, largely because I've been very busy since December! Much of my time has been spent writing 18,000 words on X-ray techniques for a forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell fast-track monograph in Earth Science:
Sutton, M.D., Garwood, R.J. & Rahman, I. Invited submission. Techniques for Virtual Palaeontology. Wiley-Blackwell fast-track monograph.
My work for this is now complete, and the following paper has also just been submitted:
Lowe, T. Garwood, R.J., Simonsen, T., Bradley, R.S., & Withers, P.W. Submitted. Metamorphosis revealed: three dimensional imaging inside a living chrysalis.
Next up is an invited paper on Blender, and then two more papers which should be completed in the near future, on insect nymphs and opilionds respectively. Following this is a foray into arachnid phylogeny and lots more exciting research. I was also part of a recent synchrotron trip to experiment with 3D chemial mapping. Hopefully this will also surface soon (and an explanation of the technique will be in the above monograph!), but in the meantime here are a couple of photos:
Naturally, there have also been new Palaeontology [online] articles for January (on life as a palaeontologist post-doc and February (on shape analysis). Links below:
While I was away at the synchrotron recently, I'm honoured to report that my 2011 Nature Communications paper on fossil harvestman was announced as the winner of Paleonturología 12, an international palaeontology competition. The announcement, in Spanish, can be found here, and press coverage of the prize here.
As part of the prize I shall be preparing a less technical account of the reseach in the near future.
A new article has been posted on Palaeontology [online] about open access in science, and the impact of the internet on the field. Interested? Read on...
I'm pleased to report that the follwing paper has just appeared in the latest issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach:
Rahman, I., Adcock, K. & Garwood, R.J. 2012. Virtual Fossils: A New Resource for Science Communication in Palaeontology. Evolution: Education and Outreach 5(4):635-641
In further exciting news, from 2013 the journal will be open access, so the paper will be freely available online. Until that time, please do email me if you would like a copy.
If you're interested in doing an arthropod-based palaeontology PhD, I'm pleased to report that one is being offered at Oxford, supervised by myself and Dr Matt Friedman. The project is titled "A reassessment of the early terrestrial ecosystems: perspectives from arthropods", and is based around using quantitative techniques to reinvestigate terrestrial arthropod origins and evolution. More details can be found at this location, and details of how to apply and funding are here. If you know anyone who may be interested in applying, please do pass the details on, and if you are interested in applying for the PhD yourself please do feel free to email me and Matt for more information.
This month's Palaeontology [online] provides an introduction to the origins and early evolution of life. It's called Patterns In Palaeontology: The first 3 billion years of evolution, and was written by myself. Please do check it out!
Thanks if you voted in the competition mentioned below - I'm pleased to report that my opilionid image was highly commended!
The Manchester Science Fetival is hosting an images of research competition, and I am very pleased to report that one of my renders has made it through to the final. You can check out all the entries, and vote for your favourite, by clicking on the image below:
In further news I'm contributing next month's article for Palaeontology [online] - Patterns In Palaeontology: The first 3 billion years of evolution. It is set to appear on November 1st, however, as I'm getting married at the end of the month I won't be around then - so please do check it out when it appears!
Finally, there is a new issue of ZT out. Enslaved grace the cover, and I have provided an interview with Between The Buried and Me for the issue. Please do check it out.
I have just posted a new Palaeontology [online] article by Verity Bennett outlining the evolution or marsupials. It's fascinating stuff - please do check it out!
I'm also pleased to report that today I have officially started a fellowship split between The School of Materials and the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, at The Unversity of Manchester, funded by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. I'll be spending the next three years looking at - amongst other things - the origin and early evolution of the insects.
The paper below appeared in PLoS one today:
Garwood, R.J., Ross, A., Sotty, D., Chabard, D., Charbonnier, S., Sutton, M. & Withers, P. 2012. Tomographic Reconstruction of Neopterous Carboniferous Insect Nymphs. PLoS one 7(9):e45779. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045779
The paper is based on our work using X-ray micro-tomography to create 3D models of two Palaeozoic juvenile insects. The detail the technqiue provided has allowed us to say something about their biology, and their mode of life. It was harder to work out which groups they may belong to - but we've tried! The paper is freely available from the website, so please do check it out. You can find more accessible information in this Nature news piece.
A new paper I was lucky enough to be involved in has appeared in press at PNAS. Details and link (to both paper and news coverage), in addition to picture of the beautiful fossil, are below.
Briggs, D.E.G., Siveter, D.J., Siveter, D.J., Sutton, M.D., Garwood, R.J. & Legg, D. 2012. A Silurian horseshoe crab illuminates the evolution of chelicerate limbs. PNAS: In press. (More information:1, 2).
I've also been busy giving talks - 5 new ones have been added to the publications page. In further news, a new Palaeontology [online] article as been posted, written by David Hone. It gives all the basics you may want to know about pterosaurs. Please do check it out! One of our editors, Peter Falkingham has also written a blog post about Palaeontology [online], which you can find here. I've also updated my current listening to reflect some cool recent discoveries. New ZT out soon - until then...
A new Palaeontology [online] article as been posted, written by Jonathan Antcliffe, providing an introduction to the Cambrian explosion. Cambrian explosion. Please do check it out!