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Award Winners 2015

At the 2015 Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting, hosted by Cardiff University and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, the following awards were presented.

Lapworth Medal

Presented to Prof. Jennifer Clack FRS for her lifetime contribution to palaeontology.

The Lapworth Medal is the Association’s highest and most prestigious medal, a life-time achievement award. Our winner has produced an impressive record of ground-breaking publications in top-tier journals. She has published the landmark text in her field ‘Gaining Ground’ which has been produced in two English editions and a Japanese translation, she has secured more-or-less continuous research funding over the past two decades, and has been recognized with a series of accolades ranging from honorary doctorates and medals to a fellowship in the Royal Society. She has truly made “a significant contribution to the science by means of a substantial body of research”. 

President's Medal

Presented to Prof. Graham Budd.

The President’s Medal a mid-career award to a palaeontologist in recognition of outstanding contributions in their earlier career, coupled with an expectation that they will continue to contribute significantly to the subject in their future work. Our 2015 winner is an international leader in arthropod palaeobiology, the Cambrian Explosion and evolutionary theory. He is one of the few palaeontologists to have mastered the field of developmental and evolutionary biology and the intricacies of Grieg’s piano concerto in A minor! Our winner’s research continues on a decidedly upward trajectory. He is one of palaeontology’s most accomplished and capable practitioners. 

Hodson Award

Presented to Dr. Roger Benson.

This award is for an early-career palaeontologist. Our 2015 winner is an exceptional, highly talented young scientist who has already made significant, lasting and clearly measureable contributions to the subject, both academically and in terms of broader service to the subject. He has already a phenomenal publication record in vertebrate palaeontology, his own substantial research group and has the potential to go forward to be a world-class leader in this competitive field. He is a most worthy recipient of the Frank Hodson Award

Mary Anning Award

Presented to Lutz Koch.

This award is open to all those who are not professionally employed within palaeontology but who have made an outstanding contribution to the subject. Our 2015 winner is a retired school teacher, who finished his professional career as a director of the school where he spent most of his professional life. During this career, he dedicated his free time to the natural sciences, and in particular to palaeontology. He has made many remarkable discoveries in many different parts of the stratigraphical column, principally in Germany, has published several books and monographs, many scientific papers together with field guides and inventories; and he has shared his discoveries with the scientific community.

Best Paper Prize 2015 - Palaeontology

Presented to Steven M. Holland & Mark E. Patzkowskyn for "The Stratigraphy of Mass Extinction".


Patterns of last occurrences of fossil species are often used to infer the tempo and timing of mass extinction, even though last occurrences generally precede the time of extinction. Numerical simulations with constant extinction demonstrate that last occurrences are not randomly distributed, but tend to cluster at subaerial unconformities, surfaces of forced regression, flooding surfaces and intervals of stratigraphical condensation, all of which occur in predictable stratigraphical positions. This clustering arises not only from hiatuses and non-deposition, but also from changes in water depth. Simulations with intervals of elevated extinction cause such clusters of last occurrences to be enhanced within and below the interval of extinction, suggesting that the timing and magnitude of extinctions in these instances could be misinterpreted. With the possible exception of the end-Cretaceous, mass extinctions in the fossil record are characterized by clusters of last occurrences at these sequence stratigraphical horizons. Although these clusters of last occurrences may represent brief pulses of elevated extinction, they are equally likely to form by stratigraphical processes during a protracted period (more than several hundred thousand years) of elevated extinction rate. Geochemical proxies of extinction causes are also affected similarly, suggesting that many local expressions of mass extinction should be re-evaluated for the timing of extinction and its relation to environmental change. We propose three tests for distinguishing pulses of extinction from clusters of last occurrences produced by stratigraphical processes.




Best Paper Prize 2015 - Papers in Palaeontology

Presented to Leonid E. Popov, Lars E. Holmer, Nigel C. Hughes, Mansoureh Ghobodi Pour & Paul M. Myrow for "Himalayan Cambrian Brachiopods".


A synoptic analysis of previously published material and new finds reveals that Himalayan Cambrian brachiopods can be referred to 18 genera, of which 17 are considered herein. These contain 20 taxa assigned to species, of which five are new: Eohadrotreta haydeni,Aphelotreta khemangarensis, Hadrotreta timchristiorum, Prototretasumnaensis and Amictocracens? brocki. Well-preserved topotype material from the classic Parahio Valley section is described for three species that have not previously been illustrated photographically. A biostratigraphical scheme based on Cambrian brachiopod occurrence is integrated with that recently proposed for trilobites. Regional correlations based on shared taxa within and across Himalayan lithotectonic belts demonstrate that erosion of Cambrian rocks in the Kurgiakh orogeny in the Parahio Valley removed little of the Parahio Formation and that all of the fossil-bearing lithotectonic zones share similar late early Cambrian brachiopods, suggesting regional faunal continuity at the time. Palaeobiogeographical analysis of the Cambrian brachiopod faunas from the Himalaya shows that they occupied a marginal position of the Australasian segment of Gondwana.


Papers in Palaeontology Archive: (Vol 1 Part 4) Himalayan Cambrian Brachiopods | DOI:

Annual Meeting President’s Prize

Presented to Jake W. Oyston for "What limits the morphological disparity of clades?"

Annual Meeting Council Poster Prize

Presented to Christopher Nedza for "Testing hypotheses of niche partitioning in isolated fossil mammal teeth based on quantitative 3D dental microwear texture analysis" 

Life Membership

Presented to Dr. Tim Palmer.

Tim Palmer’s name has been synonymous with the Association for nearly 20 years.  First serving on Council in 1980 (35 years ago), when Bill Ramsbottom was President. Then as ‘other member’, followed by Editor, disappearing for a while until you resurface again as ‘Treasurer’ during Richard Fortey’s presidency. Serving in that capacity until 1998 when he was appointed to the role of Executive Officer during Euan’s reign. In terms of Presidents, Tim has served in the role of an enlightened and proactive Sir Humphrey Appleby to  Bill Ramsbottom, Tony Hallam, Charles Downie, Robin Cocks, Richard Fortey, Dianne Edwards, Euan Clarkson, Chris Paul, Derek Briggs, Peter Crane, Mike Bassett, Dick Aldridge, Jane Francis and Mike Benton, and David Harper! Tim has masterminded the transition of the Association from a relatively small society to a large, professionally-run, international organization.

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