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TF Colloquium : Adrian Currie (Exeter)

When:We 22-03-2023 15:15 - 17:00

Adrian Currie, University of Exeter

Title: Fossils, Possibility & Robots

(At least sometimes) Paleontology is a science of possibility, not history. Spinosaurus aegyptiacus is putatively the largest therapod dinosaur and -extremely speculatively - an aquatic pursuit predator. In developing such hypotheses, paleontologists situate particular species in a wide variety of what I’ll call ‘profiles’: multi-dimensional comparison classes, constructed via phylogenetics, comparative methods, morphological analysis, and even morphological robotics. Drawing on study of Spinosaurus, I’ll highlight how paleontological knowledge explores biologically relevant areas of possibility, developing various ‘profiles’, secondarily knitting these together towards reconstructing the actual past. These explorations of possibility, in contrast with much modelling work in biology, are grounded in intimate, iterative conversation with fossils and other specimens. This grounding helps ensure that biological relevant areas of possibility are explored in a productive direction.

Drinks after the talk. More information Leah Henderson.