Research Fellow/Lecturer in Palaeontology
Alice Clement

I am an evolutionary biologist and palaeontologist, interested in early vertebrates. This means I study fish and tetrapods (the first terrestrial vertebrates), and in particular the changes that occurred in their bodies over deep geological time. This spectacular transition is arguably the greatest step in evolution, and occurred close to 400 million years ago, in a time Period known as the Devonian.

I enjoy working on spectacular fossils as well as studying the animals that live today in order to answer questions about vertebrate evolution. I use modern scanning and imaging techniques (such as CT, synchrotron and neutron imaging) to uncover deep mysteries of the past, and better understand our very own evolutionary history.

I lead the research node in early vertebrate brain evolution (palaeoneurology) at Flinders University but also do some work on other vertebrate groups (birds, mammals etc.), and other projects relating to the evolution of terrestriality – such as the development of limbs from fins, and the appearance of air breathing.

In addition to my research interests, I am the leader of VAMP, a Flinders University initiative to develop a Virtual Australian Museum of Palaeontology, the current Vice President of the Royal Society of South Australia, and a strong advocate for girls and women in STEM.

  • Dr Alice Clement received her PhD from the Research School of Earth Sciences at Australian National University in 2012. Her thesis investigated spectacular Australian lungfish fossils from the Devonian “Age of Fishes”.
  • Her first postdoctoral position was in the Evolutionary Biology Center at Uppsala University, Sweden, working alongside Prof. Per Ahlberg. There she delved into “palaeoneurology” – the science of fossil brains.
  • Dr Clement currently works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Palaeontology Group at Flinders University, Adelaide, where she continues her work on lungfish and fossil brains, but also investigates other “lobe-finned” fish such as coelacanths and “tetrapodomorphs” – the first fish to develop limbs and walk out onto land.
  • In 2021 she received the E.S. Hills Medal from the Geological Society of Australia, and the Young Tall Poppy award from AIPS in 2020.