Mike was born in Sydney but grew up in the USA where he graduated from Princeton University in 1967. After returning to Australia he completed his PhD at the University of Western Australia. He has been Curator of Mammals at the Queensland Museum, Director of the Australian Museum, Dean of Science at UNSW and Professor in the Pangea Research Centre at UNSW. His research projects include the World Heritage fossil deposits at Riversleigh, conservation of the living biota based on fossil data, and highly innovative efforts to resurrect extinct species. He has over 300 scientific publications, awards and fellowships to his credit.
Keynote lecture: Gains, gaps and gags: Riversleigh’s growing contributions to unravelling the past, present & future of Australia
Abstract: Riversleigh’s 24-million-year-long World Heritage fossil record from northwestern Queensland has involved over 100 researchers from 26 institutions in 11 countries. The results have more than trebled our knowledge of Australian pre-Quaternary vertebrate palaeodiversity and provided a new, radiometrically dated succession that will serve as a solid basis for establishing a biocorrelative framework for Australia’s mid- to late Cenozoic fossil deposits. Compared with living and other fossil faunal assemblages, Riversleigh’s are uniquely biodiverse and extraordinarily well preserved. The time range these deposits cover encompasses two rounds of climate change and provides new palaeoconservation insights into how we might better conserve endangered living species.