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Welcome to our blog about life as a palaeontologist – or trainee palaeontologist – working on fossil colour.

Previous Years

Browse our past blog entries

30 May 2024

Prof. Bo Wang, Vice-Director of NIGPAS, introducing Maria at the start of her seminar to the vertebrate palaeontology community at the institute.

29 May 2024

Maria, Valentina, Zixiao and Hollie at the lab of Prof. Baoyu Jiang at Nanjing University in China.

24 May 2024

On Friday May 24th Maria was elected to the Royal Irish Academy. This is the highest honour awarded to academics in Ireland and recognises exceptional contributions to the sciences and humanities. Maria is pictured with Prof. John O'Halloran, President of UCC and Prof. Caitriona O'Driscoll, Chair of Pharmaceutics at UCC.

20 May 2024

Bea couldn’t get Eras Tour tickets, so she’s had to settle… If you have tickets for Dublin do email her please. She's a Speak Now girlie.

14 May 2024

Enjoying spotting lots of wildlife on our recent trip to SSRL to perform XRF on all our melanin extracts. Data collection finally complete, time to start writing papers!

7 May 2024

From the field on Sunday: Valentina with the public during Féile na Bealtaine in Clogher Strand. Amazing weather and Silurian fossils!

29 Apr 2024

Dan is teaching Zixiao how to dissect lamprey eyes; here is Zixiao's first pair of eyeballs!

22 Apr 2024

Dirleane has delved deep into a Cambrian-era jellyfish. It turns out there's a lot more to this fascinating creature than just water. Looking forward to seeing the results soon!

15 Apr 2024

Ooh la la! Some great updates from Tiffany this week for her blog entry. She recently enjoyed a three-week stay in Manchester where she was collaborating with Dr Mike Buckley on a study investigating the degradation of proteins, AND her research on ginger pigments in 10 million year old frogs was covered in the January edition of Scientific American.

8 Apr 2024

Jess has been busy helping to develop a brand new school workshop all about Climate Change. Members of the Palaeogroup have been very helpful in testing out some of our new activities. Ireland's Fossil Heritage will be rolling out this brand new workshop in primary and secondary schools very soon!

2 Apr 2024

Hollie is in the lab grinding up feathers for analysis, and is very excited to get some new results soon!

25 Mar 2024

Aaron has been back on the SEM collecting images of melanosomes... As well as learning more about new software, stats and plots!

21 Mar 2024

On Thursday 21st March, Maria delivered a public lecture as part of UCC’s Science in Society series. The lecture was titled “Could Jurassic Park really happen?”

Maria said: “The idea that dinosaurs and other extinct species could be resurrected has fuelled the imagination of the public and the blockbuster movie industry for decades. But could it really happen? And would it be ethical? In this talk we’ll look at the science behind the Jurassic Park / Jurassic World franchise and whether de-extinction of such ancient animals is even possible.”

The UCC Science in Society weekly lecture series is delivered by world-leading UCC STEM academics and is open to the public.

The lectures outline the nature of science, the type of knowledge discovered by science and the types of question that science cannot answer. They will look at the role of science in modern society, in the modern developed economy, and the broad ethical issues raised by scientific and technological advances. The interface between science and religion, and science and the environment will also be examined, along with some of the ways in which science can be misused.

18 Mar 2024

In our FTIR crystal... We see structure!

11 Mar 2024

Just look at these beautiful fossil frogs from the Libros biota of NE Spain!

4 Mar 2024

Bea came back from Japan with loads of memories... and data!

1 Mar 2024

Dr Uwe Balthasar visits the School of BEES, and delivered a very interesting lecture "The Mg2+ effect on marine calcifiers through time" to the School of BEES this afternoon.


19 Feb 2024

Valentina was testing some paint samples at the FTIR in the Mary Ward Lab recently!

12 Feb 2024

Peter and Zixiao are trying out the newest addition to our lab – a shining new GC-MS! Zixiao put in his black hair, Peter used his grey hair, and now the machine is working overnight to figure out the chemistry.

5 Feb 2024

Maria, Bea and Dan took a trip to Japan to visit Professors Ito Shosuke and Kazumasa Wakamatsu at Fujita Health University in Nagoya and learn how to perform AHPO on their tissue samples. We had a lot of fun learning the procedure and exploring Japan.

29 Jan 2024

2024 was off to a great start with the first-ever Irish Palaeo Forum being held at UCC. Jess had a great day meeting palaeontologists from all over Ireland. She's now busy making plans for the year ahead for Ireland's Fossil Heritage!

22 Jan 2024

Tiffany may be in the dark on a few things - but not when it comes to fluorescence microscopes! She's been looking at teeny tiny sections of feathers under the microscope, which light up like Christmas trees when stained with feather-specific antibodies.

15 Jan 2024

Over the Christmas break Hollie took a trip to the Natural History Museum in London to see their Titanosaur exhibition. The fossils were huge!

8 Jan 2024

Just before Christmas break some of the group travelled to San Francisco to carry out some analyses at SLAC national accelerator laboratory. Of course while we were there we also had to check out a certain iconic bridge!


Maria McNamara Research Group

Experimental and analytical taphonomy

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), University College Cork (UCC), Butler Building, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, T23 TK30, Ireland