A paleontologist from the School of Life Sciences will speak at an international conference attended by leading academics in the field.

Dr Marcello Ruta has been invited to give a talk on the interrelationships of primitive amphibians at the 74th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Berlin.

The conference, which runs from 5th to 8th November, is an opportunity for researchers from all around the world to exchange ideas and further advance the discipline.

Dr Ruta, who specialises in analytical evolutionary paleobiology, will also give a presentation at The Linnean Society of London – the world’s premier society for the study and dissemination of taxonomy and natural history.

The conference ‘Radiation and Extinction: Investigating Clade Dynamics in Deep Time’ is a two-day meeting that will bring together a diverse array of researchers developing and applying methods for reconstructing deep-time macroevolutionary patterns in biodiversity, with a particular focus on analytical approaches that take advantage of the wealth of data available in the fossil record.

Dr Ruta was invited to give a presentation on the evolution of the humerus in early limbed vertebrates.

Determining the causes and drivers of evolutionary dynamics is central to our understanding of life on Earth. What factors shaped the modern biota? Why did some groups go extinct, whilst others survived and radiated? Why are some groups so much more diverse than others? What will happen to organisms as the Earth continues to warm up?

These issues cannot be addressed solely by studying the present day: only by examining evolution on longer, deep-time scales can we hope to understand what controls and drives these processes.

The conference, which takes place on 10th and 11th November, is sponsored by the Linnean Society of London, the Palaeontological Association and University College London’s Environment Institute.