4 March 2011
Friday 4 Mar 2011, 13:00 - 14:00, G25, School of Earth Sciences, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road
Professor Zhang is a Professor at the Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates (LESV), and Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in Beijing.
His research interests cover the origin and early evolution of birds and feathers, and the origin of avian flight. His current research themes focus on the description of remarkable new bird fossils, including skeletons with feathers and skin, as well as eggs, and other fossils from the astonishing Early Cretaceous fossil deposits of the Jehol Group in NE China. He is working with a team from the University of Bristol on the colour of Mesozoic birds and dinosaurs, using scanning electron microscopy and geochemical means to investigate the remarkable fine-scale detail of skin and feathers of these 125-million-year old fossils.
Recently, he was first author of a paper in Nature in which the IVPP-Bristol team was first to announce evidence for colour in the feathers of dinosaurs. The ancient feathers preserve organelles in the keratin matrix of the feathers called melanosomes, exactly as in modern birds, that contain the colouring agent melanin in different forms, corresponding to a variety of colours. This discovery was hailed as one of the top-100 scientific discoveries of 2010 by Discovery magazine.
Professor Zhang will present this talk on Chinese fossil feathers and their implications on the origin of birds, feathers, and flight to the School of Earth Sciences' Palaeobiology and Biodiversity Research Discussion Group.
For more details of Professor Zhang's visit, please contact Professor Mike Benton or see: http://www.bris.ac.uk/ias/fellowships/meakers/zhang.html