Paleontologist to Discuss Skeletons’ Use in Reconstructing Past Ecosystems at UA

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Dr. Linda Ivany, a leader in paleontology who studies climate, ecology and evolution, will present “The Pace of Life – The (often) Missing Element in Studies of Evolution Using Fossils,” at The University of Alabama on Thursday, Oct. 15 as part of the Alabama Lectures on Life’s Evolution, or ALLELE, lecture series at UA.

The lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m. in room 125 of ten Hoor Hall on the UA campus and is free and open to the public. This is a new location for the ALLELE lectures, which have previously been held in the Biology Building Auditorium.

Ivany leads the Paleoecology and Paleoclimatology Laboratory at Syracuse University, which uses the study of accretionary skeleton hard parts to reconstruct records of life. Her lecture will use this history of research to argue that this is a powerful tool to understanding the path of evolution in the distant past.

“Many skeletons contain growth lines, much like tree rings, that can be interpreted to understand age, growth rate, environmental change and many other useful factors related to evolution,” said Dr. Fred Andrus, chair of UA’s department of geological sciences.

Ivany has had many major papers published in Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Geology. She has studied fossils from all over the world, and she has written several papers focused on Alabama and Gulf Coast fossils to understand evolution through a period of ancient, extreme climate change.

“The ALLELE series has been going on for 10 years now,” Andrus said. “Each year we bring in the best minds in the world to discuss evolution in all its many aspects. I would argue that ALELLE is the best collection of evolution thinkers ever assembled into a single program worldwide.”

The 2015-2016 ALLELE series is supported by UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Alabama Museum of Natural History and UA’s departments of anthropology, biological sciences, chemistry, communicative disorders, geological sciences, history, philosophy, physics and astronomy, religious studies, and telecommunication and film.

For more information about the series, visit

The ALLELE lecture series is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships and Goldwater Scholarships.