Fossil Hunter Lottie has left London (see her adventures behind the scenes at the Natural History Museum here) and made it to her first #realfossilhunter tour stop: Edinburgh. She spent the day with post-doctoral researchers Dr Shaena Montanari and Dr Hongyu Yi, checking out isotopic analyses of whale skin, Scottish fossils and fossil crocodile brain cases!
Shaena is a Royal Society Newton International Fellow at the University of Edinburgh in the School of GeoSciences. She uses stable isotope geochemistry to understand environmental and biological signatures in extant and extinct vertebrate remains like teeth and eggshells. She conducts modern experimental research on natural variations in carbon and nitrogen isotopes of modern omnivores to compare to the fossil record. She uses museum and field collections from around the world for much of this geochemical research. Shaena’s current project is on small mammals but in the past has worked on extinct creatures ranging from dinosaurs to giant kangaroos!
Hongyu is a Royal Society Sino-British Fellow at the University of Edinburgh in the School of Geosciences. She uses X-ray CT scanning and computer modeling to study the evolution of sensory organs among extant and extinct reptiles. She is particularly interested in using inner ear morphology in snakes to better understand what environment snakes evolved in and why they lost their legs. To answer this question, she has CT scanned snakes varying from a 30 cm thread snake to a 3m giant anaconda.
— Shaena Montanari (@DrShaena) May 11, 2015
Written by Shaena Montanari and HongYu Yi. All photos copyright Montanari & Yi.