Research Assistant
Ellen Mather

My interest in palaeontology has been around for as long as I can remember. When I was a young girl I was fascinated by dinosaurs and wanted to study them when I grew up. As I grew older, I realised that there were many more extinct animals than just dinosaurs and many of them have not gotten nearly as much attention. I ended up doing a Bachelor of Science in evolutionary biology, majoring in palaeontology, at Adelaide University before coming to Flinders University to complete an Honours and a PhD.

My current research is focused on the extinct Accipitridae (eagles, hawks and ‘Old World’ vultures) of Australia, particularly in regards to taxonomy and phylogeny. From 2021 to the present, I have published three papers on this topic, with a fourth currently in the works. These include papers on Australia’s oldest known eagle (Archaehierax sylvestris from the late Oligocene), Australia’s first known vulture (Cryptogyps lacertosus from the Pleistocene) and Australia’s largest known eagle (Dynatoaetus gaffae from the Pleistocene). It has been a great privilege to work with these fossils at Flinders University, and I look forward to what comes next in my research career.