Invitation to a public lectue on Antarctica and South Africa: New Evidence of Mass Extinctions’

Royal Society of South Africa and the Academy of Science of South Africa invite you to a public lecture by Prof Roger Smith, Evolutionary Studies Institute,University of the Witwatersrand and  Karoo Palaeontology, Iziko South African Museum on ‘Antarctica and South Africa: New Evidence of Mass Extinctions’


What caused the Mother of all Mass Extinctions? New evidence from South Africa and Antarctica

The End-Permian mass extinction was the worst biological crisis that the world had so far endured. Two hundred and fifty-two million years ago the Earth suffered a rare combination of factors that caused the near extinction of all life. If we are to fully understand the complexities of the Earth’s ecosystems today we need to know why and how this happened. It is now apparent that all species living today are descendants of the survivors of this catastrophe. This lecture presents the latest geological and palaeontological findings from South Africa and Antarctica that shed light on the causes and the kill mechanisms, as well as how the tetrapod survivors re-colonised the southern continents in the earliest Triassic.

Roger Smith was born in Cambridge, England and came to South Africa in 1976 after graduating in Geology and Zoology from Manchester University. He joined the South African Museum in 1983 and gained his doctorate through the University of Cape Town in 1990. From then until retirement in 2016 he was curator of Karoo Palaeontology. He is currently Distinguished Professor in Geological Sciences at University of the Witwatersrand working on several projects under the general title of “Palaeoecology of Gondwana”. Roger’s research is field-based, integrating vertebrate palaeontology and sedimentology into palaeoecological reconstructions of ancient landscapes- especially the dramatic changes that took place in the South African Karoo Basin during the End-Permian mass extinction event 252 million years ago. For the past 15 years Roger has been involved with collaborative research projects in Africa (Eritrea, Niger, Lesotho, Namibia, Madagascar, Zambia and Tanzania), Antarctica (3 seasons) Brazil and Argentina.

Date:     Wednesday 21 November 2018

Time:    17h00 (Tea will be served from 16h30)

Place:    South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) Auditorium, Observatory Road, Observatory*

*Directions to SAAO Auditorium : From the N2, turn off to the M57 – Liesbeek Parkway; turning in the direction of Cape Town and continue until the traffic lights with Hartleyvale (hockey and football) on your left. Turn right at traffic lights into Observatory Road, pass the River Club; the S A Astronomical Observatory is next on the left. Once through the security gates bear left following the SALT signs to the auditorium i.e. last building on the left (white with stoep & ramp).