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TACNY Jr. Café Scientifique

“Stranger than Fiction: A Journey through the History of Life”

Saturday, October 21, 2017
9:30A.M. - 11:00A.M.

Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST), Armory Square, Syracuse, New York

Speaker: Emily J. Judd, PhD Candidate, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University

Talk Overview: The Earth is very old – 4.56 billion years old, to be exact. Yet it took about a
billion years for life to first appear, and another 3 billion years or so to evolve to the complex
forms we see today. Together we will journey through geologic time, from the very beginning of
life through to the appearance of humans. We will explore the interactions between organisms
and the Earth around them –not only how they’ve adapted to changing environments, but also
how they’ve caused changes to the environment, from altering the landscape to oxygenating
the atmosphere. Through the lens of the fossil record, we will look at the explosion of complex,
multicellular life more than 500 million years ago, the transition from life in the oceans to life on
land, the rise (and fall) of dinosaurs, the diversification of mammals, and eventually, the
evolution of humans.

Biography: Emily Judd is a PhD candidate in the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse
University. Before coming to Syracuse, she earned her BS in Geology, with a minor in
Philosophy from the Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. Emily’s primary field of research is
paleoclimate, or the reconstruction of ancient climates. Her research focuses on greenhouse
climate intervals – times in Earth’s history when there was no ice near the poles, but instead
there were palm trees and crocodiles. She looks at chemical signatures in fossils from these
warm intervals to investigate how different environments respond to large-scale changes in
climate, so that we may be able to better predict those changes in the future. These days,
much of Emily’s work involves looking at 50-million-year-old clams from Antarctica to assess
seasonal changes in temperature and precipitation. When not in the lab, Emily enjoys
exploring the great outdoors, be it hiking, mountain biking, or rock climbing, as well as reading,
traveling, and spending time with her giant 12-year-old dog.

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