Lecture meeting on 10th June 2024

Castle Bank: a unique window in the history of life

Talk by: Dr Joe Botting

Palaeontology crucially depends on the rare fossil sites that preserve not only skeletons, but entire organisms and ecosystems. Now, one of the most spectacular of these deposits has been discovered in a small quarry near Llandrindod, known as Castle Bank. Work is still in the early stages, but the deposit has already revealed numerous new species, including some major groups of animals that have no other fossil record.

The fossils show extraordinary levels of preservation, including entirely soft and in many cases tiny (1–3 mm) animals with internal organs such as guts and nervous systems. Most importantly, the Castle Bank Biota is from a critical time interval (the Middle Ordovician, 462 million years ago) that has yielded very few exceptionally preserved faunas.

This talk will introduce Castle Bank and its remarkable fossil community, and what it reveals about the history of life.

Speaker biography

Dr. Joe Botting is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Amgueddfa Cymru—National Museum Wales, and a Guest Scientist at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology. He has lived in Llandrindod since 2013 (with his palaeontologist wife, Dr. Lucy Muir), and been working in the area since the mid-1990s. In total, he has published nearly 100 academic papers and book chapters, including in major international journals such as Nature.

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