Lecturer in Palaeontology
Aaron Camens

I am lucky enough to be a Lecturer in Palaeontology at Flinders University and a part of the diverse academic team in the Flinders Palaeontology Lab. Over the last couple of years we have developed an exciting new undergraduate program for palaeontology students, including the launch of Australia’s first palaeontology degree in 2019.

I am interested in understanding the evolutionary leaps and bounds that have led to the diversity of Australian animals we can see around us today. I have worked on sites spread across Australia, New Zealand and Madagascar that help reveal the many extinct species that lived in these areas prior to human arrival. In recent years my studies have focused on deposits in Australia’s arid interior. These sites range in age from 25 million years ago, when much of the country was covered in dense forest, through to the time that humans first arrived in southern Australia, some 50,000 years ago.

My work spans a range of disciplines including:

  • Functional Morphology (analysis of fossil skeletons to determine what an extinct species was capable of, where it lived, what it ate and how it moved)
  • Ichnology (the study of fossil footprints and what they can tell us about the distribution, ecology and locomotory capabilities of extinct species)
  • Palaeoecology (the study of whole faunas and how the ecosystems of the past differ from those around us today).

I am fascinated by the incredible diversity of past life, and every single fossil provides valuable clues to our help our understanding of what has come before. Without the fossil record we would not be able to understand how the modern Australian fauna evolved, the factors that have helped shape these evolutionary pathways and the threats faced by these communities going into the future.