School of Geography, Geology and the Environment

Jane turns 10

A public lecture on exceptionally preserved fossils, and a schools taster session are among the events to celebrate the 10th year of Jane the T. rex.

We are planning a number of events to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the unveiling of Jane the T. rex at the University of Leicester. Jane, our resident juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex forms the centre-piece of our Flying Dinosaurs (PDF, 1.08mb) exhibition in the Bennett Building.

Between Monday 15 October 2018 and Friday 2 November 2018, we will be highlighting a range of palaeontology research carried out by staff and students, as well as some facts and photos of our fossil collection on our social media pages.

Monday 29 October 2018 will see Emeritus Professor David Siveter present a special lecture on 'Exceptionally Preserved Fossils and T. rex: Messengers on the History of Life''. Here is a synopsis of the lecture:

Our understanding of the history and evolution of life on Earth relies heavily on the fossil record and especially on rare cases of so-called ‘exceptional preservation’, where complete animals and the soft parts of animals and entire soft-bodied animals are preserved. Such exceptionally preserved fossil deposits (termed Lagerstätten) provide unique insights of animal palaeobiology and the true nature of biodiversity.

The talk will illustrate beautifully preserved fossils through geological time. The focus will be on the T. rex specimen, Jane, that forms the centre-piece of the Flying dinosaurs exhibition at the University of Leicester, and also on fossils from two of the world’s most important Lagerstätten: from 520 million year old rocks of Chengjiang, China and 430 million year old deposits in Herefordshire in the Welsh Borderland. The Chengjiang and Herefordshire Lagerstätten contain a wide range of marine animals that lived on the sea floor and in the water column, including sponges, worms, starfish, snails and other molluscs, arthropods of various kinds and the earliest known vertebrate. The Herefordshire fossils are being studied by the construction of high fidelity three-dimensional ‘virtual fossils’ that furnish unrivalled anatomical details of the animals. Such fossils are crucial in helping to fill gaps in our knowledge of the history of life and in helping resolve controversies about the relationships of animals still alive today.

Time: 5.30pm-7.00 pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Bennett Building, University of Leicester

We will also be planning a pre-lecture Schools Taster session for anyone thinking of studying Earth Sciences at university, which will be running from 3.00pm-5.00pm. There will be a range of rotational activities, which will focus on exceptional preservation suitable for ages 14+, which is new to the GCSE and A-level Geology curriculum.

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