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Emily Hughes

Emily Hughes is an undergraduate student at Wesleyan University, born and bred in Riverside, California. She has spent the majority of her summers exploring the Australian Outback, and finding, recording, analyzing and generally admiring the 560-million year old Ediacara fossils preserved there. She is a prospective double major in English and Earth and Environmental Science, and she works for the student newspaper as well as the sustainability office.

Fossil-Finding 101: How to Spot the Right Rocks

A question that members of the research team often get regarding our work in the South Australian outback is simply how we know where to excavate fossil beds. It’s a good question—an important aspect of the paleontological process is simply identifying the best places to look for fossils.

A Family of Explorers in Search of Some of Earth’s Oldest Fossils

Emily Hughes has been following her mother, paleontologist Mary Droser, into the field all her life. This summer the family is back in Australia digging up some of Earth’s oldest fossils.

Extramural Activities: Paint and Fossils

Emily Hughes brings us tales of adventure and discovery from the Australian Outback as she and her mother search for unbelievably ancient fossils. Paleontologists learn to do more than just paleontology when necessary; for them, useful skills can include making murals.

Mysterious Fossils in 3D

Emily Hughes brings us tales of adventure and discovery from the Australian Outback as she and her mother search for unbelievably ancient fossils. Pteridiniums are ancient organisms full of mystery—and those found in the Outback prove these life forms to be much older than previously thought.

Illuminating Fossils: Light’s Importance in Paleontology

Emily Hughes brings us tales of adventure and discovery from the Australian Outback as she and her mother search for unbelievably ancient fossils. Photographers and professors of physics understand the importance of light, but surprisingly enough, so do paleontologists.

Mapping the Past

Emily Hughes brings us tales of adventure and discovery from the Australian Outback as she and her mother search for unbelievably ancient fossils. Map-making: It’s not just for map-makers anymore. Paleontologists also use many aspects of it.

A Whole New Dimension: 3D-Fossil Excavation

Emily Hughes searches for fossils in the romantic expanse of the Australian Outback. Her team is continuing its excavation of the Ediacaran fossils—this time in three dimensions.

Snorkeling Conditions 560-Million Years Ago

Emily Hughes searches for fossils in the romantic expanse of the Australian Outback. After a recent trip to Hawaii and a round of snorkeling, she reflects on what swimming through the oceans 560-million years ago would have been like.

Feeding in the Flinders: Past and Present

Emily Hughes searches for fossils in the romantic expanse of the Australian Outback. Ancient creatures fed 560-million years ago on microbial mat, and today she admires the differences between what creatures ate then and now.

Fossil Excavation in a Nutshell

Emily Hughes searches for fossils in the romantic expanse of the Australian Outback. She is excavating the first fossil bed of the season, and excited for what will be contained inside.

Looking Back 560-Million Years

Emily Hughes searches for fossils in the romantic expanse of the Australian Outback. As the digging progresses, she describes the Outback of 560-million years ago.

The Importance of Silly Putty in Paleontology

Emily Hughes searches for fossils in the romantic expanse of the Australian Outback. The tools one brings are of lofty consequence—Silly Putty, along with other tools such as dental picks.

The Fossil-Hunting Expedition Begins

Emily Hughes searches for fossils in the romantic expanse of the Australian Outback. This is the first of her posts—the trip to the Outback for fossil hunting begins!