Insects can be considered the predominant type of animal life on Earth at present.
This is based on their number of species, diversity of form and adaptations, abundance, ubiquity, and relationships with other organisms. How the insect pre-eminence unfolded through their evolutionary history is one of the major interests of palaeoentomology - the study of fossil insects.
In this talk, we will discover some of the most peculiar extinct insects and explore what kind of palaeobiological information can be obtained from their fossils. We will travel in time from the origins of the group sometime in the Devonian, around 400 million years ago, through their incredible diversity at the end of the Palaeozoic, to the establishment of modern insect faunas during the Cretaceous, around 100 million years ago.
Dr Ricardo Pérez-de la Fuente is a palaeobiologist and Museum Research Fellow at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Ricardo is interested in shedding light on past ecosystems and the evolution of life on the continents through the study of fossil arthropods, namely insects and arachnids. His works are focussed on the Cretaceous and the study of amber, particularly that from Spain. The Cretaceous is a key period to understand the origin of modern terrestrial ecosystems, as during that time flowering plants greatly diversified and eusocial insects such as ants and bees appeared.