Many palaeo-people know the work of Maria Rita Palombo, who has explored the evolution of Plio-Pleistocene Eurasian mammals since the early 1970s. Her research covers almost every aspect of mammalian palaeobiology, from taxonomy to biochronology and palaeoecology. But two things have been most represented in her vast publication record: fossil elephants and island fauna.
Like Dorothea Bate before her, Palombo has explored and excavated on many Mediterranean islands. Due to her singular contribution to the knowledge of the endemic mammals of these islands (especially dwarf elephants, dwarf deer and bovids), a newly discovered species of the Balearic ‘mouse goat’Myotragus palomboi was recently named in her honour.
Maria Rita Palombo’s research has been strongly based on field work and multidisciplinary cooperation (she coordinated, among the others, a successful geo-palaeontological expedition in Erlien Basin, Chinese Inner Mongolia in 1999-2000 …a true trowelblazer!).
At present, she divides her time between teaching (she is Professor of Palaeontology and Palaeoecology and Director of the Museum of Palaeontology at Sapienza Università di Roma) and conducting her research activity with undiminished passion and energy.
Written by Roberto Rozzi (@rozzi_roberto)
Edited by Tori — and huge congrats to Roberto, who recently defended his PhD on the body size evolution in insular bovids!