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What is Palaeobiology? Famous Dinosaurs of Africa Author Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan Explains

Famous Dinosaurs of AfricaPost Matric, South Africa’s leading free-distribution careers magazine, recently featured Palaeobiology as a career choice, interviewing our country’s most notable palaeobiologists – Famous Dinosaurs of Africa author Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan.

“Anusuya says a palaeontologist is mainly interested in removing fossils from the ground and identifying them. But as a palaeobiologist, her primary research interest is not in the excavation of fossils – that’s a side story – but rather in reconstructing these animals as they once lived, by studying sections of their bones under a microscope,” the magazine writes.

Read the article to find out more about this career, how Chinsamy-Turan has made her mark on the industry and why she is the deserving winner of the Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Prize for the public understanding and popularisation of science from the World Academy of Science in 2013:

As a vertebrate palaeobiologist, meaning she works on animals that have an internal body skeleton, Anusuya has published extensive research on dinosaurs, and also on their relationship to early birds. “Most palaeontologists consider dinosaurs to be ancestors of modern birds, so I’ve studied early birds, and tried to work out how the transition from non-avian dinosaurs to birds evolved,” she says. Anusuya has also studied the fossilised bone microstructure of flying reptiles called pterosaurs.

The common thread in all her research is in trying to unravel the biological signals recorded in fossil bones. Age and environment aside, these bones can provide information about whether a bird was moulting, laying eggs or diseased, before it died millions of years ago.

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