Been A While
My dearest gravelers,
Much has happened over the last few months, but I want to spend this post talking about the biggest thing of all to happen...
HOMO NALEDI HAS AN AGE, YOU GUYS! It took two years, but we did it! When I say we, I really mean Paul Dirks, Eric Roberts, Hannah Hilbert-Wolf, Christa Placzek, Carl Spandler, Jessie Robbins, and Jelle Wiersma. Great job everyone!
An age of 234 - 335 ka, that is very significant, and there is going to be a lot of speculation regarding these ages and what they mean. Also a lot of speculation surrounding the discoveries in the second chamber. Who is sold on the idea of deliberate burial? We are but mere sedimentologists, we should leave that up to palaeoanthropologists.
This month on Where in the World is Eric Roberts?
After returning from a week in Calgary, Canada, Eric Roberts is now in South Africa in the Cradle of Humankind announcing the ages for Homo naledi. We expect he'll be back in the jungle in a bit over a week.
... until next time...
There is some good news out of the Jungle in the last few weeks!
Quaid, Cassy and Hannah have all had papers released within a small amount of time. You can find them in the publications section. Great work, guys!
Hannah's paper also made it to the front cover of the AAPG Bulletin! Well done Hannah!
Cassy has also submitted his PhD edits and is now Dr Cassy!!!!
More good news to come very soon, so keep a lookout!
Welcome Back to the Jungle
Welcome to 2017, dear Gravelmonkey followers! We have another exciting year here in the Jungle, and we look forward to more fun!
In 2016 we had a lot of achievements amongst our group, so before I go on, I'd like to point those out to you:
We also welcomed to the team a group of eager scientists in PhD students Jelle Wiersma and Jess Robbins; Honours students Tegan Beveridge (who will now become a PhD student in 2017) and Harry Gardner; and we welcomed back Kelly Heilbronn who is now working towards her PhD.
This year we welcome Honours student Theresa Orr to our group. We also welcome PhD students Behnam Sadeghi and Leigh Lawrence who, together with Paul Slezak, will be associate members.
Unfortunately, we also had to say goodbye to some of our Gravelmonkey members in 2016. Cassy returned to Tanzania to complete his PhD, and Rob Holm (our tectonics expert) has left to pursue other career options,
We look forward to 2017 with great excitement as our achievements can only get higher.
Congratulations to Quaid!
We bring happy news from here at the Gravelmonkeys: Quaid has now submitted his PhD and has had a chapter of his thesis accepted by a paper for publication. A big congratulations to Quaid, who we know has worked very hard for this!
Well, it's May 2016 already...
Dear followers, apologies for the long delay in posting a new blog... we've all been incredibly busy!
First of all, happy ridiculously and ludicrously belated new year! Hope all your dreams and wishes are coming true! I know that ours here at the Gravelmonkeys are.
Our fearless leader, Eric Roberts, spent an extended period in Antarctica earlier this year, as some of you may have been aware. This was a part of the Antarctic Peninsula Paleontology Project, and a number of teams of scientists made their way to the frozen wilds to look for any fossils that may have been uncovered in the last few years - and by all accounts they were very successful! For a more in depth look at this trip, see our News & Media section for the Discover Magazine article.
Since our last post, Hannah has completed her PhD and is now working on a post doctoral research project here at JCU! I'm sure you'll all agree it's worth congratulating her again for her magnificent efforts! Cassy and Quaid are still working on their finishing touches for their theses and submitting papers as well, and we wish them all the luck (though we know they don't need it).
The Gravelmonkeys also welcomes some new recruits for the 2016 year! We have an Honours student, Tegan Beveridge, who is doing some research in the Kaiparowits Formation of Southern Utah, USA. We have a PhD student, Jelle Wiersma, who is working on the cave sediments and some geochronology work of the Rising Star Cave in South Africa. We have another PhD student, Jess Robbins, who is based in Cairns, and is also doing some work on the Rising Star Cave in South Africa. We also have another research exchange student from Macalester College in the USA, Grace Guenthner, who will be with us only a few more short weeks, but has been working on some research that she will put towards her senior thesis. We also welcome Paul Slezak, who has been studying his PhD on REEs here at JCU for over a year now. Despite his topic not being sedimentary, he has decided to join our group because of some shared interests with our geochronology work that we do here. So welcome one and all! It's a pleasure working with you all, and I hope we continue to for a long time to come!
In the meantime, everyone here is working hard on their research. Stay tuned for our next update, which I hope won't be another 6 months.
It's Been A While...
Guten tag, dedicated followers!
It has been a while since the last blog post - apologies.
It has been a very busy semester, what with the deadlines looming and passing (successfully) for some of our students, let alone the busyness of everyone else!
To catch you up, going back to the Palaeontology talks at the Museum of Tropical Queensland - they were a success! In particular our Meet a Palaeontologist desk was a big hit with the kids; our fossil collections and charismatic Gravelmonkeys showing everyone how cool studying science can be. After all, who doesn't like dinosaurs?!
The Honours students completed their exit seminars (all of them fantastic - we're not biased at all...) and then handed in their theses in October. From the rest of the Gravelmonkeys, including management, a huge congratulations! We know you all did the best you could, and we're sure the results will support that.
Quaid completed his Pre-Completion Seminar for his PhD - and I think it went very well. Just Hannah and Cassy to go before they all finish :(
There may or may not be another blog post before Christmas, as we're winding down the year with the undergrads having left, so too the Honours students. If not, we will be back next year bigger, if not better, than this year.
Stay tuned, folks!
JCU Palaeontology Talks
We here at the Gravelmonkeys have been kindly asked to give a series of palaeontology talks at the Museum of Tropical Queensland here in Townsville. They will be performed each weekday for two weeks beginning on the 21st of September. On the cards is Todd speaking about his fossil crabs from around the area, Christopher talking about fossilised termite nests from Tanzania, Hannah speaking about fossils from Africa (dinosaurs to mammals), Eric will talk about Jurassic embryology and debunking myths from the Jurassic Park films, and finally, and certainly not the least, Paul Dirks and Eric Roberts will give a talk about Homo naledi from South Africa.
These talks are at 11am each day (in the above order). Don't miss out on these awesome talks! There's also plenty more to do while you are there - http://www.mtq.qm.qld.gov.au/Events+and+Exhibitions/Events/2015/09/Dino+World#.VfkC8BGqqko
Hope to see you there!
Unfortunately it has been a while since our last post. Things have been busy. People doing stuff and stuff.
BIG NEWS! Our Supreme Director and Paul Dirks are currently in South Africa caught up in the hype of the new early human ancestor that was discovered. Dubbed Homo naledi our researchers have had a big part in looking at the geological and taphonomic context of this new species. The new paper can be found in the open source journal eLife online. Congratulations to the whole team who worked on that project, it's made international news and helped put little JCU on the map.
More news to come!
A Return to Form
Ruby is red,
Garnet is yellow... or red... or green... or white...
Wow! Poems are hard!
A new semester has begun here at the Gravelmonkeys, and like a tail-ender in the T20 Big Bash we're back in full swing! Each member is hard at work with teaching, writing, submitting, drinking, screaming, and crying: the latter few coming from, but not limited to, those who are edging closer to finishing their respective theses for Honours and PhDs. We, of course, wish them all the best, but know very well that they will do very well. (On a side note, we have started keeping a close eye on coffee prices in the stock market; for no reason whatsoever).
New ideas bring new challenges, and the designing of Gravelmonkey shirts is no exception. We are in the process of getting shirts made, mostly so we will become even easier to spot in the wild, but also because it breathes and air of professionality-ness... After all, are we not all professionals? (Don't answer that).
Very importantly, on behalf of all of us here at the Gravelmonkeys, I would like to extend a warm, hearty welcome to Cedric 2.0, AKA Alyssa Erding. She, too, hails from Macalester College in the US of A, and will be here with us for the duration of this semester. Alyssa, make yourself at home; there're drinks in the fridge and food in the... there're drinks in the fridge... I think...
More news will be coming your way in the weeks ahead, so keep your TV sets tuned.
Ruby is red,
Azurite is blue,
My poem is awesome,
Your rhyming is poo!
How to Be a Rockstar (Literally!)
If you want to be a Rockstar, I have three simple words for you, or maybe two…two and a half?! Hannah Hilbert-Wolf.
Our very own Hannah is swiftly becoming the poster girl for seasoned GravelMonkeys and aspiring geologists everywhere. As the founding member and number one “fangirl” in the We Love Hannah club, I can confidently say that she is a very clever duck indeed. Hannah’s ground-breaking (pun always intended!) research on seismites has made news across the world this week, with her very first television appearance! Feel free to swing me an email if you’d like to sign up to the We Love Hannah club. Her seismites paper can be found through the Geology Page link in the “News & Media” section of this here website; it’s a cracking good read!
If I may digress, recent controversy has been sparked in the science world. Nobel Prize winning biochemist Tim Hunt came out in front of a conference for scientists and science journalists and said, “Let me tell you my trouble with girls…”
You know something good is going to come next right?!
“Three things happen when they are in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”
Off the back of those comments, female scientists everywhere have started posting photos of themselves to social media with their utterly ravishing PPE practising their glamorous day to day science with the hash-tag #distractinglysexy. Herein lies my point: Hannah, you keep being #distractinglysexy, and show those boys (obviously not the GravelMonkeys, they know you’re as valuable as a LA-ICP-MS that actually works…) what an asset you are!
In other news, Cassy and Quaid have recently submitted papers (exciting! Good luck!) And some of the other members have papers in preparation as you read.
As the semester winds down, Eric, Rob and Hannah are off to Fanning River to terrorise second year students in the field. Following that, Eric (and maybe Hannah, my information source is not entirely reliable…) will be off to Tanzania to continue their long-running research on the Rukwa Rift Basin.
The GravelMonkeys will reconvene in late July-early August (classic geologist time frame! Never commit too much), and more news will come out then.
Yours in #distractinglysexy,
It's been an exciting week for the GravelMonkeys this week!
Todd Kane, one of our Honours students has submitted (at last!) his thesis. Now he's in the process of writing up his findings into a paper to be published.
Also, Hannah just had a paper on seismites from Tanzania published! Co-authored with Eric Roberts (our Supreme Director) this paper is hot off the press and can be found in the PLoS One journal online!
In sad news, it won't be long until Cedric, our resident exchange student, will be heading back to the USA *sad face*. It's been a treat having him as a part of our team and we wish him all the best for his future endeavours. Bon voyage!
The rest of the crew have been very busy, indeed, with all their own projects.
Stay tuned for more exciting events at you're new favourite website: the GravelMonkeys.
Happy Birthday, Inge Lehmann!
On 13th May, 1888 Inge Lehmann was born. She was a Danish seismologist who, in 1936, proposed that the centre of the Earth consisted of both an Inner and Outer Core, both of different compositions. This decision was widely accepted by seismologists who were previously unable to explain why P-waves slowed down as they reached the centre of the Earth.
In the 1950s the Lehmann Discontinuity, which describes the increase in P- and S-wave velocities at about between 190 - 250km, was named after her when she discovered it.
Her pioneering research has allowed seismic research to continue to leap forward today, and her theory on the Earth's core is still valid today. She passed away in 1993, ending a good innings of 104 years, but her legacy still lives on. The American Geophysical Union named a medal in her honour for "Outstanding contribution to the understanding of structure, composition and dynamics of the Earth's core and mantle."
We thank her for her contribution to science and hope that her legacy continues to live on.
For anyone who has been wondering, this site is still under construction from the good people at the GravelMonkeys. It may or may not be obvious from the somewhat comical pages of a few of the Lab Team members; this was a ploy by one cheeky monkey to encourage them to finish their pages.
More news from the gang to come shortly.
Until then, oooh-oooh-aaaahh-aaaahh-oooh! (that's good-bye in GravelMonkey).
"I'm trying to build an empire, because after this, I cannot get a normal job."