Fossil Mammal Research Group
Reconstruction of a Pliocene swamp near Perpignan courtesy of Mauricio Anton.
(From Agusti & Anton (2002) Mammoths, Sabertooths, and Hominids. Columbia U.P.)
The Fossil Mammal Research Group is a subgroup of the Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology in the School of Biological & Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK. Our members consist of palaeontologists, archaeologists and palaeoenvironmental specialists. We are interested in the development of mammalian faunas over the last 30 million years and have expertise in a wide variety of mammal groups including hominins (P. Wheeler, J. Ohman), ungulates (L. Bishop) and carnivores (A. Turner, H. O'Regan). We are also engaged on studies of Plio-Pleistocene and Holocene climate change using a variety of approaches such as testate amoebae (also known as rhizopods), pollen, diatoms, foraminifera and archaeology (J. Kirby, S. Gonzalez, D. Wilkinson, T. Clare). Group members have been active in both the old and new world and are currently working on a series of projects, ranging from Quaternary mammoths and human arrival in Mexico (S. Gonzalez) to Cave Archaeology in northern England (H. O'Regan, D. Wilkinson, I. Smith).
We are interested in taxonomic, ecological and morphological studies of mammals from the Neogene onwards. Areas of particular strength include palaeoecological analyses (including the taxon-free approach), the evolution of large carnivores, (e.g. the genus Panthera, sabretoothed cats and hyaenids), biomechanical and morphological analyses of primates and Plio-Pleistocene biogeography (including hominin dispersal from Africa and the arrival of humans in the Americas).
In 2010, in addition to a number of book chapters, we published papers in a variety of journals including PNAS, Journal of Human Evolution, Journal of Anatomy, Quaternary International and Journal of Biogeography (see publications page for a full list).
Recent conferences organised by members of the group include the Quaternary Vertebrate Research Group (QUAVER) meeting in June 2011, Cave Archaeology: Past present and future held at Manchester Museum in June 2010, and the African Archaeology Research Day (AARD) co-organsied with Liverpool University in November 2009. Forthcoming meetings include the joint Quaternary Research Association and British Cave Research Association (QRA/BCRA) fieldmeeting to North West England in June 2012.
Several members of our group have been involved or consulted in the making of television programmes, including an entire episode of Channel 4's Extinct on mammoth extinction with Dr Silvia Gonzalez. Professor Alan Turner has been seen on the BBC's the making of Walking with Beasts and was a consultant for Walking with Beasts, Ape-man and Extinct.