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Uploaded on Nov 24, 2009
SEILACHER SPEAKS ON MACRO EVOLUTION ON NOV 13 Dolf Seilacher will visit the University of Cincinnati Geology Department and present a lecture titled "Macro evolution in the Deep Sea" at 3:30 PM On Friday November 13, 2009, in Room 201 in Braunstein Hall. The lecture is in conjunction with UC's Darwin Year activities. The lecture will be followed by a reception. Carl Brett has invited the Dry Dredgers to attend. Professor Seilacher is originally from Swabia, southern Germany, and teaches part of the year at Tübingen, Germany and part at Yale University. "As a famous geologist and paleontologist, he is arguably the most celebrated member of that profession in all of Europe and widely recognized as one of the leading paleontologists in the world," Brett said. "A few years back Dolf received the Crawford Prize from the King of Norway-which is essentially the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in geology. He is also an engaging speaker and a very interesting person." The lecture, Brett said, "is bound to be entertaining, intriguing and provocative." In awarding Seilacher with its 2006 Lapworth Medal, the UK-based Palaeontological Association gave this summary: "Prof. Dolf Seilacher is one of the world's most renowned invertebrate palaeontologists, widely celebrated for his visionary and inspired interpretations of the fossil record. He has made his most significant contributions to four areas of palaeontology: trace fossils, morphodynamics, the study of exceptionally preserved fossil deposits (Lagerstätten), and Ediacaran assemblages. In the latter he is especially recognised for proposing the innovative (and controversial) hypothesis of the Vendobionta. In each of these fields he has stimulated research with fundamental discoveries and iconoclastic interpretations. In 1992 he was awarded the Crawford Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which is arguably the closest an earth scientist can get to being a Nobel Laureate. Some of his most cited work has been in the field of morphodynamics, recently acknowledged at his 80th birthday symposium, organised in Yale. Dolf's major contribution to our understanding of the evolution of morphology was in emphasizing that function is an important but far from complete explanation of organic form. He formalized this realization in 1970 as Konstruktions-Morphologie (constructional morphology), recognizing the influence of phylogeny and architecture in addition to adaptation. This 'triangular' approach was very influential at a time when there was little interest in constraints on the evolution of form. In 1990, twenty years on, Dolf expanded the triangle to include an environmental dimension, although this can not be measured directly and is important mainly conceptually. He has applied the methods of constructional morphology to a range of organisms from vendobionts to barnacles, from clams to crinoids. Dolf illuminates his results with the iconography of his line drawings and his unique explanatory terminology. Dolf's influence on our science is evidenced by the infiltration of his terminology into our everyday working vocabulary - constructional morphology, Lagerstätten and vendobionts. There is no other European palaeontologist more richly deserving of the career recognition that the Lapworth Medal bestows."