Reading the rocks

Baragwanathia longifolia

A fossilised clubmoss (Baragwanathia longifolia) showing a dense bristly covering of hairs or spiny leaves. Late Silurian or Early Devonian, from Victoria, Australia.

Principal Investigator

Dr Paul Kenrick

Project summary

  • Focus: Observing the origins and early diversification of plant and arthropod life on land

The Reading the Rocks project explores the origins and early diversification of plant and arthropod life on land.  

We aim to:

  • establish the timing of events, using fossil evidence and inferences drawn from living organisms through a molecular clock based approach
  • determine how major changes in sedimentation driven by rising and falling sea level and plate tectonics affect the fossil record

Through this research, we hope to gain a better understanding of the development of important Earth systems such as the carbon cycle.




Plant origins

We are investigating the origins of plant life on land and the evolution of basic plant organs, tissue systems, and life cycles. 

Other projects:

Origins, evolution and futures research

We study the Earth's origins and environment, and the evolution of life.

Invertebrate and plant palaeobiology research

We are investigating the origins and evolution of these diverse fossil groups.

Palaeobotany collections

The palaeobotany collection spans the Archean to the present, containing cyanobacteria, fungi and plants.