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Toronto, May 11 (Canadian-Media) The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) announces the establishment of the Richard M. Ivey Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology—the first endowed position of its kind in Canada, media reports said.
Royal Ontario Museum. Image credit: Facebook page
This prestigious and important new role will be held by the ROM’s Senior Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology, Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron.
Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron. Image credit: rom.on.ca
Besides its well-known fossil vertebrate collections, including dinosaurs and mammals, the ROM holds nearly half a million specimens of non-vertebrate fossils (invertebrates, plants, microbes, and trace fossils) that represent an evolutionary record stretching from life three billion years ago to modern times.
Since 1975 ROM had been able to collect close to 250,000 specimens.
This collection includes important specimens from Ontario and across Canada, most significantly from the renowned Burgess Shale, a half-billion-year-old fossil site in British Columbia.
This collection is held in trust for Parks Canada, and is by far the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the world.
Caron specializes in the origin and early evolution of animals during the “Cambrian explosion,” the period in evolutionary history when diverse groups of animals appeared in the fossil record for the first time.
A dynamic research program on the Burgess Shale is led by Caron and he regularly organizes field expeditions to the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks of British Columbia.
In 2012, Caron and his team discovered a new Burgess Shale site near Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park.
This site so far had yielded tens of thousands of specimens and dozens of species new to science.
Over 50 scientific papers, had been published by Caron since he joined the ROM in 2006, including several in the prestigious journals Science and Nature.
CBC, the New York Times and the BBC had covered many of his studies and discoveries of new organisms.
Caron has also featured in a number of TV documentaries, including First Life with Sir David Attenborough.
Owing to his various accomplishments, Caron won the Pikaia Award for outstanding contributions to Canadian research from the Palaeontology Division of the Geological Association of Canada.
Development of the ROM’s future Dawn of Life permanent gallery is being actively overseen by Caron.
This is the project that has also received generous support from the Ivey Family and other leadership donors.
The story of life from its beginnings to the evolution of the first dinosaurs and mammals will be featured in this gallery.
This will complement the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs and the Reed Gallery of the Age of Mammals on the second floor of the ROM.
“I’m very pleased to support Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron and the ROM’s critical ongoing work in the field of Invertebrate Palaeontology,” said Richard Ivey. “I see this endowment as an essential contribution to one of the Museum’s most important areas of collection and focus; one that offers acomprehensive understanding of our planet’s natural history and the evolution of life since our shared beginnings.”
The endowment program at the ROM lends an opportunity to the donors enable thought-provoking exhibitions, revolutionary research and engaging public programs by supporting the Museum’s curatorial expertise.
The Richard M. Ivey Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology is one of nine endowed curatorships at the Museum, and the second to receive matching funds by the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust.