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Diversity Dynamics and Crisis in Paleontology

Considering the global challenges of climate change and current diversity crisis, and the perspective palaeobiology can contribute to tackling these challenges, our field cannot afford exclusion of or mistrust by any group.

Project leaders are

Nussaibah Raja-Schoob (FAU, Germany)

Emma Dunne (Univ. Birmingham, UK; now FAU)

DDCP is partly funded by PaleoSynthesis.

The workshop is based on the idea that Palaeontology is unique among scientific disciplines in that it thrives on the exchange of information across diverse communities, both academic and non-academic.

The PIs have identified a need to change the way that research is conducted with the aim to improve the representation of a wide range of abilities, perspectives, and backgrounds in paleontology. Paleontology involves office work as well as a great deal of field work, visiting museum collections, cooperation among scientists, and more. Often, however, local experts are not involved in such work or even deliberately excluded. Additionally, not all scientists have the same resources (e.g., financing of project; IT) or opportunities to perform fieldwork. Therefore, Nussaibah and Emma created a workshop to bring together paleontologists from various cultural, racial, socio-economic and research backgrounds. Along with these paleontologists, several JEDI (Justice, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) specialists will play a major role in achieving the project outcomes:

  1. the identification and quantification of the nature and scale of the diversity crisis in paleontology and how it affects research output
  2. and the report on the current state of paleontology in order to be able to dismantle identified barriers to resources and opportunities.

Contact ✉ Nussaibah and ✉ Emma

Speaker series: these speakers gave a talk. The speaker series took part in November / December 2021 finishing with an open table discussion on December 10. Recordings are available here or on our youtube channel. 

For reading:

  1. Colonialism shaped today’s biodiversity
  2. Colonial history and global economics distort our understanding of deep-time biodiversity
  3. Digging deeper into colonial palaeontological practices in modern day Mexico and Brazil
  4. The moral and legal imperative to return illegally exported fossils
  5. Ethics, law, and politics in palaeontological research: The case of Myanmar amber
  6. Publication pressure threatens the integrity of palaeontological research
  7. Minority language speakers in Palaeontology
  8. Are we reaching gender parity among​ Palaeontology​ authors?
  9. Fossil Trafficking, Fraud, Fakery
  10. Scientific collaborations between Latin America and Europe…
  11. Academic publishing requires linguistically inclusive policies