Speakers On Stage: Ice Age Cemeteries

Chair persons

Prof. Dr Leon Claessens

Leon Claessens is a professor of Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution at the Maastricht Science Programme, Maastricht University. For his scientific research he focusses on paleobiology and vertebrate evolution, with a main interest in the dodo, archosaurs and the Late Cretaceous fauna from North America and Limburg. Leon will act as an excellent bridge between the Dutch and American paleontological worlds.

Dr Alexandra van der Geer

Dr. Alexandra van der Geer is a postdoc researcher at Naturalis. She is particularly interested in insular biodiversity, and the role of both invasive animal species and humans in the extinction of highly endemic island taxa. One of her specialities is human – animal interaction, including domestication, roles in art and mythology and practical use of animals. Alexandra is first author of ‘Evolution of Island Mammals‘ (Wiley-Blackwell, 2021).

Guest speakers

Dr Joaquin Arroyo-Cabrales

For the past 40 years, Joaquin Arroyo-Cabrales has been a Senior Scientist, Lab Head, and Paleontological Collection Manager at the Archaeozoology Lab, of the National Institute for Anthropology and History in Mexico City. He has a great number of publications on his name, focussing on mammalian palaeontology, biodiversity and museum collections. Joaquin has been involved with the excavation of ‘Mammoth central’, the large mammoth cemetery found at the new Mexico airport construction site. At the symposium, he will present this research for the first time in Europe!

Remie Bakker

Remie Bakker grew up in Bergen (Noord-Holland), with lots of nature and a pottery nearby. After he got his diploma as Illustrator at the Rotterdam Art Academy (currently Willem de Koning Academy), Remie started his own company Manimal Works. His first projects were mainly special effects make-up for movies and tv, but it did not take long until he was making his first models. Remie is well known for his facial reconstructions, scientific illustrations and of course, for his prehistoric animal models. They are always displayed in a lifelike manner, showing their distinctive features, which is why Remie enjoys his close cooperations with scientists from different fields of expertise.

Rob van den Berg

Rob van den Berg studied geology and mammalian paleontology at Utrecht University, before he took up several management functions at Museon and Space Expo among other things. Recently he has found his way back to the bones, acting as Head of Collections for Naturalis, where he is responsible for 42 million plants, animals, minerals, rocks and fossils. But you might better recognise him as our new president of the WPZ. Rob is actively involved with the giant beaver (Trogontherium) project and will present the result at this symposium.

Dr Bas van Geel

Bas van Geel (University of Amsterdam) is a paleo-ecologist who studies Pleistocene and Holocene lake sediments, fens, bogs and archeological sites. He combines paleoecology, paleo-climatology and archeology and he explores pollen, other microfossils, and botanical macrofossils (seeds). Over the last 20 years, Bas has studied feces and botanical infill of molar folds of mammoths and other Pleistocene herbivores from Siberia, NW-Europe, N-America and southern S-America.

Dr John Jagt

John Jagt is the curator of the Cretaceous collections at the Natural History Museum Maastricht. This museum is home to thousands fossils of squids, snails, sea urchins, brittle stars, corals, crabs and lobsters, trace fossils, sea turtles, birds and of course the mosasaurus, from the chalk limestones of Maastricht and the surrounding area. But they also take care of the collection of giant beaver fossils from the Tegelen clay pits.

Bram Langeveld

Bram Langeveld has been interested in nature and natural history, and paleontology in particular, for as long as he can remember. So he studied biology at Leiden University, specialising in paleobotany and invertebrate paleontology. Since then he has been the curator with the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, but many of our members will know Bram as member of the board and editor for Cranium. At the symposium, Bram will present the Trogontherium research, together with colleague Rob van den Berg.

Prof. Adrian Lister

Adrian Lister is a Research Leader in the Department of Earth Sciences of the Natural History Museum in London. His research interests are in the evolution of mammals during the Quaternary ice ages, with special reference to large mammals such as elephants and deer, as well as the dwarfing of mammals on islands, and the causes of extinction of large mammals at the end of the ice age. Adrian has authored nearly 200 scientific papers and his two books on mammoths have sold over 60,000 copies in six languages. He is a frequent contributor to TV and radio programmes on fossil and living mammals, and his 2018 book Darwin’s Fossils marks a new departure in his work.

Dr Greg McDonald

Greg McDonald held multiple positions in the federal government, including Regional Paleontologist for the Bureau of Land Management, Senior Curator of Natural History and Paleontology Program Coordinator for the National Park Service, and paleontologist at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. His ongoing research continues to focus on the extinct giant ground sloths and their relatives and Plio-Pleistocene mammals of North and South America. He is a co-author of the book ‘The White River Badlands: Geology and Paleontology’ and a co-editor of the book ‘Smilodon: The Iconic Sabertooth’.

Dr Jim Mead

Jim Mead is the Director of Research at The Mammoth Site (Black Hills, South Dakota), where he on day-one helped establish the locality in 1974. Since then, he has been working on Ice Age biotic community reconstructions in the Black Hills, Great Basin of Nevada, and the greater Intermountain West, based primarily on cave excavations. With over 180 peer reviewed articles and book chapters including four books, Mead is currently focused on Pleistocene mammal, reptile, and amphibian fossils, including dung remains from western USA, northern Mexico, Western Australia, and China.

Tessa Plint

Tessa Plint is a Canadian stable isotope scientist living in Scotland, where she is a postgraduate student at The Lyell Centre of the Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. She loves studying skeletons and applying biogeochemical proxies to answer questions about ancient and modern ecosystems. Her palaeoecological research has focussed on extinct Pliocene and Pleistocene beaver species, most notably the North American giant beaver.