University of Cambridge

Spanish flag icon

The Cambridge team is working in the Palaeontological Framework, focusing primarily on the vertebrates, with a view to understanding the ways they evolved between the end-Devonian extinction and the end of Romer’s Gap.

Professor Jenny Clack, FRS, University Museum of Zoology

Professor Jenny Clack

© copyright UMZC

For over 20 years, Jenny Clack has made major contributions to early tetrapod palaeontology, especially disovering, describing and analysing new and recently prepared material from the Late Devonian and Early Carboniferous periods. This work changed perceptions about the evolution of tetrapod limbs, breathing and hearing, and is now included in standard biology text books. In 2008 she was presented with the Daniel Giraud Elliott medal by the National Academy of Sciences, USA, and in 2009 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Chicago and the T. Neville George Medal by the Geological Society of Glasgow. In 2014 she was made a Foreign Honorary Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Leicester. In 2015 she was awarded the Palaentological Association's most prestigious award, the Lapworth Medal.

Jenny talks about the project on the University web site - scroll down to Evolution of Terrestriality.

Jenny was the subject of a 2012 BBC4 documentary in the Beautiful Minds series. You can watch this on YouTube. It has Spanish subtitles, but the soundtrack is the original English.

Dr Tim Smithson, University Museum of Zoology

Tim Smithson at Burnmouth

© Copyright Rob Clack

Tim Smithson (Post-Doctoral Research Associate) has been the main instigator of exploration of localities in the Borders Region of Scotland, specifically targeting the Tournaisian (Lower Carboniferous) deposits. His success follows 20 years of prospecting. He combines his extensive knowledge of the geology and palaeontology of the region with a previous academic record of description and analysis of Early Carboniferous tetrapods.

Tim is currently studying the lungfish which have been found, of which there are several taxa, and working with Jenny on the tetrapods.

Keturah Smithson, University Museum of Zoology

Ket Smithson

© Copyright Ket Smithson

Keturah Smithson studied Zoology at the University of Leicester, where she won the Henry Walter Bates Award for being the top graduate in her class. She is the Research Assistant working alongside the palaeontologists on the TW:eed Project, specifically focussing on micro-CT scanning many of the specimens and reconstructing 3D images of them, which is invaluable in helping guide and instruct the preparation process. Ket is not related to Tim.

Dr Roz Wade, University Museum of Zoology

Roz Wade

© Copyright Roz Wade

Roz Wade is Education and Outreach Officer in the Museum and works with the National Museums of Scotland consortium members on exhibitions and other aspects of public outreach.

Sarah Finney, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

Sarah Finney

© Copyright Sarah Finney

Sarah Finney is a Conservator at the Sedgwick Museum. For many years, she was Jenny’s preparator, doing exquisite work extracting early tetrapod bones from an extremely intractable rock matrix. She helps with collection, preparation, conservation and curation of specimens. She has been involved in recent fieldwork and has done some conservation and preparation of some of the extremely fragile specimens that we have found.

Previous Masters Student

Ben Otoo2014 - 2015