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Howdy!

Hey there, and welcome to the PLOS Paleo* Community blog! My name’s Jon, and along with Sarah and Andy, I’ll be one of your new blog editors! Just a quick intro here to get things rolling 🙂

For several years now, I’ve been blogging primarily for the European Geosciences Union as part of their excellent blog network, and have also written for venues like Discover Magazine and Earthtouch. I’m really into science communication, and love how it feeds into the whole structure of making research more open and transparent. I’m a firm believer that access to research is a public right, and hope this community blog can be another step from the Paleo community in that direction!

As a PhD student (for now..), my primary research looks at long-term trends in the fossil record, trying to understand the patterns in biodiversity and extinction that we find. In particular, my thesis is investigating whether or not we have a ‘hidden’ mass extinction in the fossil record around 145 million years ago, but I also work on crocodiles, and my first paper last year was actually in PLOS ONE on ruminant snouts! Weird.. (Andy was also the Editor, and did an awesome job 🙂 )

The cute little croc Theriosuchus, from Scotland over 160 million years ago! Artwork: Joschua Knuppe
The cute little croc Theriosuchus, from Scotland over 160 million years ago! Artwork: Joschua Knuppe (Source)

Without sucking up too much, I really think this community has the power to push the curve froward for science communication. By combining both open access publishing with increased visibility through blogging, I really hope that together we can increase the accessibility of all aspects of Palaeontology, and work with an already passionate community to continue delivering top notch science beyond academia.

As a first event, the Community will be hosting a Reddit AMA this Wednesday (Sept 23), at 10:00 AM-11:00 AM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada). We’ll have more details on it soon, but it’s going to be on a recent study published on Neanderthal jewelry, and promises to be pretty awesome!

Alligatorellus bavariucs, a 150 million year old extinct 'dwarf' crocodile from Bavaria that I helped to name in PeerJ as part of my research
Alligatorellus bavaricus, a 150 million year old extinct ‘dwarf’ crocodile from Bavaria that I helped to name in PeerJ as part of my research

I look forward to working with the community, and especially Andy and Sarah, both supreme scientists in their own right and excellent communicators! If you ever want to get in touch, you can find me on Twitter far too much..

*As a Brit, I am required by Royal Order to use the correct spelling of Palaeo, but for this I’ll make an exception..

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