Brock alumnus to speak about oldest forms of complex life

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Brock alumnus to speak about oldest forms of complex life

Published on January 13 2011


Brock’s first Faculty of Mathematics and Science Distinguished Alumni Lecture will feature a renowned paleontologist who studies the origin and early evolution of animals and their ecosystems.

Faculty of Mathematics and Science Distinguished Alumni Lectures
“When Life Got Big: Glaciation, Oxygenation and the Origin of Animals”
Featuring Dr. Guy Narbonne (BSc ’75)
Monday, Jan. 24, 5 to 6:30 p.m., Academic South 217, Brock University

Guy Narbonne (Bsc ’75), who grew up in Niagara, is a professor and research chair in Paleontology in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering at Queen’s University. He was also recently inducted into the prestigious Royal Society of Canada — one of the country’s highest academic honours.

His research and descriptions of the biology, ecology and history of Ediacaran biota — the oldest forms of complex life yet discovered (575-542 million years old) representing the first animals on Earth — have greatly influenced our understanding of evolution.

In his lecture, Narbonne will speak about the unusual soft-bodied animal fossils discovered by him and his colleagues in 2002 in 580-million-year-old rocks at Mistaken Point in Newfoundland. The discovery pushed back the age of Earth's earliest known complex life to more than 575 million years ago, soon after the melting of massive glaciers.

These Precambrian fossils help to resolve “Darwin’s Dilemma” regarding the very late appearance of large organisms, billions of years after microscopic life first appeared. Evidence suggests that large animals developed in response to dramatic environmental changes — notably the end of a global ice age and a large rise in atmospheric oxygen.

The Faculty of Mathematics and Science Distinguished Alumni Lectures showcases the talents and accomplishments of notable alumni from the Faculty. These public lectures are free and everyone is welcome to attend.

Guy Narbonne (Bsc ’75)

Guy Narbonne (Bsc ’75)