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Nicholas R. Longrich

Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology and Paleontology, University of Bath

Nicholas is a senior lecturer in evolutionary biology and paleontology at the University of Bath. He is interested in how and why the world is the way it is and studies dinosaurs, among other things—pterosaurs, fossil birds, lizards and snakes. He is also interested in understanding macroevolution—large-scale evolutionary patterns and processes. Stuff like the evolution of organisms and ecosystems over millions and billions of years, the evolution of complex adaptations like bird flight, and the snake body plan. He is particularly interested in the idea that macroevolution is more than just lots of microevolution—that over long periods of time, at large scales, and in the evolution of complex structures, different dynamics come into play. That over time, the processes of evolution itself have evolved.

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From This Author

Evolution Tells Us We Might Be the Only Intelligent Life in the Universe

Are we alone in the universe? It comes down to whether intelligence is a probable outcome of natural selection, or an improbable fluke. By definition, probable events occur frequently, improbable events occur rarely—or once....

Would We Still See Ourselves as ‘Human’ if Other Hominin Species Hadn’t Gone Extinct?

In our mythologies, there’s often a singular moment when we became “human.” Eve plucked the fruit of the tree of knowledge and gained awareness of good and evil. Prometheus created men from clay and...

When Did Humans Start Experimenting With Alcohol and Drugs?

Humans constantly alter the world. We fire fields, turn forests into farms, and breed plants and animals. But humans don’t just reshape our external world—we engineer our internal worlds, and reshape our minds. One way...

One Incredible Ocean Crossing May Have Made Human Evolution Possible

Humans evolved in Africa, along with chimpanzees, gorillas, and monkeys. But primates themselves appear to have evolved elsewhere—likely in Asia—before colonizing Africa. At the time, around 50 million years ago, Africa was an island...

When Did We Become Fully Human? What Fossils and DNA Tell Us About the Evolution of Modern Intelligence

When did something like us first appear on the planet? It turns out there’s remarkably little agreement on this question. Fossils and DNA suggest people looking like us, anatomically modern Homo sapiens, evolved around...

Will Humans Go Extinct? For All the Existential Threats, We’ll Likely Be Here for a Very Long Time

Will our species go extinct? The short answer is yes. The fossil record shows everything goes extinct, eventually. Almost all species that ever lived, over 99.9 percent, are extinct. Some left descendants. Most—plesiosaurs, trilobites, Brontosaurus—didn’t....

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