Dr Carys Bennett

Honorary Fellow

School/Department: Geography Geology & The Environment, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)7890 599 271



I am an Honorary Fellow at the University of Leicester. My background is in geology and I have expertise in the fields of sedimentology palaeontology and geochemistry. I'm actively engaged in research and my interests range from ancient environments in the Carboniferous up to the present day biosphere. I have a strong understanding of cross-disciplinary issues facing society and the natural world. I work full-time for the charity for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and am a media spokesperson for them.


My research interests include:

- The Anthropocene biosphere how human dietary trends have reshaped the natural world.

- Early Carboniferous palaeoclimates and palaeoenvironments as the setting for tetrapod evolution

- Devonian/Carboniferous ecological radiation of ostracods into non-marine environments.

From 2012-2018 I was a post-doctoral Research Associate on the NERC Consortium Grant: ""The Mid-Palaeozoic biotic crisis: setting the trajectory of tetrapod evolution"" working with Professor Sarah Davies. The consortium was lead by Dr. Jenny Clack (University Museum of Zoology Cambridge) and involved the Universities of Leicester and Southampton the British Geological Survey and the National Museum of Scotland. At Leicester we studied the palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic context of tetrapod evolution by analysing the sedimentology stratigraphy and isotope geochemistry of successions in south-east Scotland where a wealth of new tetrapod fish invertebrate and plant fossils have been discovered.


(0) Bennett, C.E., Kearsey, T.I., Davies, S.J., Leng, M.J., Millward, D., Smithson, T.R., Brand, P.J., Browne, M.A.E., Carpenter, D.K., Marshall, J.E.A., Dulson, H., Curry, L. 2021. Palaeoecology and palaeoenvironment of Mississippian coastal lakes and marshes during the early terrestrialisation of tetrapods. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 564, 110194. 

Clack, J.A., Bennett, C.E., Davies, S.J., Scott, A.C., Sherwin, J. and Smithson, T.R., 2019. A Tournaisian (earliest Carboniferous) conglomerate-preserved non-marine faunal assemblage and its environmental and sedimentological context. PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.5972 47.

Otoo, B.K.A., Clack, J.A., Smithson, T.R., Bennett, C.E., Kearsey, T.I., Coates, M.I. 2019. A fish and tetrapod fauna from Romer’s Gap preserved in Scottish Tournaisian floodplain deposits. Palaeontology, 62, 225-253. 

Bennett, C.E., Thomas, R., Williams, M., Zalasiewicz, J.A., Edgeworth, M., Miller, H., Coles, B., Foster, A., Burton, E.J., Marume, U. 2018. The broiler chicken as a signal of a human reconfigured biosphere. Royal Society Open Science, 5, p.180325.

Bennett, C.E., Vandenbroucke, T.R.A., Williams, M., Leng, M., Lee, M.R., Bonifacie, M., Calmels, D., Fortey, R.A., Laurie, J.R., Owen, A.W., Page, A.A., Munnecke, A. 2018. Oxygen isotope analysis of the eyes of pelagic trilobites: testing the application of sea temperature proxies for the Ordovician. Gondwana Research, 57, 157-169.

Millward, D., Davies, S.J., Williamson, F., Curtis, R., Kearsey, T.I., Bennett, C.E., West, I.M., Marshall, J.E.A., Browne, M.A.E. 2018. Early Mississippian evaporites of coastal tropical wetlands. Sedimentology. 65, 2278-2311. 

Bennett, C.E., Howard, A.S.H., Davies, S.J., Kearsey, T.I., Millward, D., Brand, P.J., Browne, M.A.E., Reeves, E.J., Marshall, J.E.A. 2017. Ichnofauna record cryptic marine incursions onto a coastal floodplain at a key early Mississippian tetrapod site. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 468, 287-300.

Bennett, C.E., Kearsey, T.I., Davies, S.J., Millward, D. Clack, J.A., Smithson, T.R., Marshall, J.E.A. 2016. Early Carboniferous sandy siltstones preserve rare vertebrate fossils in seasonal flooding episodes. Sedimentology 63, 1677-1700.

Kearsey, T.I., Bennett, C.E., Millward, D., Davies, S.J., Gowing, C.J.B., Kemp, S.J., Leng, M.J., Marshall, J.E.A., Browne, M.A.E. 2016. The terrestrial landscapes of tetrapod evolution in earliest Carboniferous seasonal wetlands of S.E. Scotland. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 457, 52-69.

Clack, J.A., Bennett, C.E., Carpenter, D.K., Davies, S.J., Fraser, N.N., Kearsey, T.I., Marshall, J.E.A., Millward, D., Otoo, B.K.A., Reeves, E.J., Ross, A.J., Ruta, M., Smithson, K.Z., Smithson, T.R. and Walsh, S.A. 2016. Phylogenetic and Environmental Context of a Tournaisian Tetrapod Fauna. Nature Ecology & Evolution, doi:10.1038/s41559-016-0002.






Press and media

Anthropocene biosphere chickens Carboniferous climate environment and fossils


Member of:

The Palaeontological Association

The Micropalaeontological Society

The Leicestershire Literary and Philosophical Society Earth Sciences

Scientists for Global Responsibility

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


2012: The President’s Award of the Geological Society awarded to an early career geoscientist who shows great promise in their career.

2012: The Geological Society Research Grant for trilobite sampling fieldwork in Sweden.

2008: Runner up best talk at the NHM student conference presented by Sir David Attenborough.

2004: The Jefferey Muell Prize University of Liverpool for the highest ranked undergraduate.

Media coverage

My 2018 research paper on chickens in the Anthropocene generated a lot of media interest. I have done over 12 press interviews representing the University of Leicester on this topic and was featured in an episode of the dcocumentary Anthropocene on EBS a Korean television channel with 40 million viewers. The article has been downloaded over 40000 times. The research has been published by 48 news outlets around the world including in the New York Times BBC The Conversation The Guardian Smithsonian Magazine El diario and The Indian Express. I am still conducting interviews on this topic.


September 2012 - March 2017: Post-Doctoral Research Associate University of Leicester. Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Consortium Grant funded project investigating tetrapod evolution in the early Carboniferous. My research focused on sedimentology micropalaeontology and palaeoclimates.

September 2011 - September 2012: Postdoctoral Researcher (ATER) at the University of Lille1 France. Research on the Ordovician palaeoclimate and trilobite eye ultrastructure and geochemistry.

2005 - 2009: Full-time PhD at the Department of Geology University of Leicester. PhD title: Mississippian ostracods and isotopes of the Midland Valley of Scotland: testing for the ecological shift into non-marine environments. NERC and British Geological Survey (BGS) CASE award funded.

2000 - 2004: MESci Geology (Master of Earth Sciences) with honours first class. Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences University of Liverpool. "

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