All future 2014 events

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Macroevolution in Mammals: Evo-Devo and Rates of Evolution   View Summary
5 September 2014

Dr Alistair Evans (Future Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, Monash University)


Al's research explores the evolution, development and function of morphology in mammals over their 200 million year history. His multidisciplinary research combines fossils and modern biotechnology to establish some of the limits on evolution and predict the likely direction of evolution. In this talk he will explain the discovery of the 'inhibitory cascade' rule of tooth evolution, demonstrating that humans show the same evolutionary trends and limitations as mice. Other aspects of his work include re-engineering mouse development to replay evolutionary transitions in the fossil record, the speed of macroevolution from an animal the size of a mouse to one the size of an elephant, and predicting the shapes of undiscovered fossils. His work has been extensively published in international journals such as Nature, Science and PNAS.


Dr Alistair Evans is a biologist interested in the evolution of shape, exploring evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), functional morphology and palaeontology. Al studied zoology and completed his PhD at Monash University in 2003 before moving to Finland for postdoctoral work at the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki. He returned to Monash in 2008 as an Australian Research Fellow, and has recently commenced an ARC Future Fellowship.

DTAnderson Lecture Theatre (A08) at 1.00 pm followed by lunch at the Grandstand - ($5 for students and $10 for staff), drinks at menu prices

Please contact if you wish to attend the lunch

Murray Lecture   View Summary
24 September 2014

Wildlife Wars

Professor Justin O'Riain(Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town)delivers the 2014 Murray lecture. This free lecture is co-presented by the School of Biological Sciences and Sydney Ideas.

Dingoes are shot for eating our sheep; sharks and crocodiles are 'culled' for chewing on humans. All around us people are in conflict with nature.

When humans are either on the menu, or being forced to share it, our invariably irrational response reveals our recent evolutionary history as both a food source and a fearsome competitor.

It is within this framework that Professor Justin O'Riain explores the widespread conflict between humans and wildlife species that are adjusting to life in the anthropocene, the current geological epoch that acknowledges the impact of humans on Earth.With reference to recent research on species as different as baboons and white sharks, O'Riain uses his training as a behavioural ecologist to explore the drivers of the human-wildlife conflict. In the search for possible solutions we are forced to grapple with the uncomfortable contradiction between current conservation efforts and our determined march towards global economic security.

Professor Justin O'Riainis a behavioural ecologist who has worked on a wide variety of southern African wildlife species including mole-rats, porcupines, meerkats, wild dog, baboons, lions, leopards, jackals, seals and white sharks. Although his early interests were on how the natural environment shapes the behaviour and lifestyle of such species it soon became evident that it was impossible to ignore the enormous impacts of humans on all aspects of wildlife - from the individual to the ecosystem. The importance of translating such science into wildlife management policy has demanded that O'Riain face his own fears - using logic and evidence based arguments to convince politicians to manage for a future that is longer than an election term.

Please join us for a cocktail reception with interactive displays in the foyer after the lecture. All are welcome to attend.

Registration essential: