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Photo of Alistair McGowan
Alistair McGowan

My major research focuses on the application of quantitative and statistical techniques to the fossil record. I have been involved in projects that have analyzed the evolution of a range of biological groups (flying vertebrates, dinosaurs, trilobites, ammonoids, plants) in space and time, as well as more theoretical projects aimed at developing computer tools for analyzing evolutionary patterns and processes. I have worked or studied in Scotland, England, the USA and Germany.

The group I specialize in is the Ammonoidea but I am interested in all cephalopod groups. This was enough to make me moderator of the invertebrates list here. A little learning is a dangerous thing.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh/Scottish Government and Marie Curie all help to fund my research at present.

However, I am also a keen 'hands-on' conservation worker, doing both practical conservation work (previous jobs included working for Scottish Conservation Projects building mountain footpaths and working as a forester in Wiltshire) and bird surveys with the British Trust for Ornithology and the RSPB. If you are reading this in Great Britain or Ireland, I would urge you to contribute ANY bird sightings to the Atlas Project 2007-2011 website or to BirdTrack.

My other interests include long-distance running, history and philosophy of science, public understanding of statistics and probability and playing a wide range of futile board games.

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