A free lecture with guest speaker Sarah Augusta McCracken

News Release, Calvert Marine Museum

SOLOMONS, MD – February 14, 2020 –The Calvert Marine Museum (CMM) Fossil Club welcomes guest speaker Sarah Augusta “Gussie” Maccracken for a free lecture entitled, “The Inconspicuous Lives of Ancient Insects: Fossil Evidence of Insect Herbivory on Plants.” Join us on Saturday, February 22 at 2:30 p.m. in the CMM Harms Gallery and learn how some of the smallest creatures have made a big impact on history.

The evolutionary history of plants and their insect adversaries is a story told by the scars on fossil leaves. Insect damage on a single leaf not only captures one moment in time when an insect fed upon a plant, but it also reflects the millions of years of evolution leading up to that moment. These minute and unassuming fossil traces also tell us a great deal about how terrestrial ecosystems functioned during periods of biotic turnover, climate change, and extinction events.

For this talk, Mccracken will discuss her research on Late Cretaceous and early Paleocene plant-insect associations, including a newly discovered lyonetiid moth mite, the oldest evidence for plant-mite associations, insect herbivory during the rise and radiation of flowering plants, and a new project examining insect herbivory throughout the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction.

“After hearing Gussie Maccracken give this talk at the Smithsonian, I was so impressed that I really wanted her to present it here at the Calvert Marine Museum,” said Dr. Stephen Godfrey, CMM Curator of Paleontology. “I was truly amazed at what she was able to tell from the damage insects had done to leaves in prehistoric times.”

Don’t miss this free public lecture, which takes place immediately following the CMM Fossil Club’s quarterly meeting. For more information about either the presentation or how to join the Fossil Club, please contact Dr. Godfrey at 410-326-2042, ext. 28 or Stephen.Godfrey@calvertcountymd.gov.


David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...