Please note this event will now take place on Friday 24th June at the Ukrainian Community Centre.
Professor Steve Brusatte is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs. He is a palaeontologist at the University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences, and he joins us this June to speak about his latest book The Rise and Reign of the Mammals: A New History, from the Shadow of the Dinosaurs to Us.
The passing of the age of the dinosaurs allowed mammals to become ascendant. But mammals have a much deeper history. They (or, more precisely, we) originated around the same time as the dinosaurs, over 200 million years ago, but mammal roots lie even further back – some 325 million years.
Out of this long and rich evolutionary history came the mammals of today, including our own species and our closest cousins. But today’s 6,000 mammal species – the egg-laying monotremes including the platypus, marsupials such as kangaroos and koalas that raise their tiny babies in pouches, and placentals like us, who give birth to well-developed young – are simply the few survivors of a once verdant family tree, which has been pruned both by time and mass extinctions.
In The Rise and Reign of the Mammals, Steve Brusatte weaves together the history and evolution of our mammal forebears with stories of the scientists whose fieldwork and discoveries underlie our knowledge, both of iconic mammals like the mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers we all know, and of fascinating species that few of us are aware of. What we see today is a very limited range of the mammals that have existed throughout history, and in this fascinating and ground-breaking book, we hear their story.
Widely recognized as one of the leading palaeontologists of his generation, Brusatte has named and described over a dozen new species of dinosaurs and mammals during his career. He has led ground-breaking studies on how dinosaurs rose to dominance and went extinct, and how mammals replaced them afterwards. Among his particular research interests are the evolutionary transition between dinosaurs and birds and the rise of placental mammals, and he is a noted specialist on the anatomy, genealogy, and evolution of the carnivorous dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor. He is also the science consultant for Jurassic World: Dominion, the third film in the Jurassic Park franchise.