I am Andrea ‘Tracemaker’ Baucon, welcome on my homepage!

My research interests are focused on the study of Ichnology, that is the study of life-substrate interactions. You can find me on the peak of the mountains looking for fossil tracks or I can annoy your beach-time while looking for recent worm burrows on the tidal flat.

However, I am not only studying traces: I also produce them!
I am involved in Digital Arts and multimedia design…follow my creative traces in this website!

Research interests

I research on fossil burrowsmodern burrowsastrobiologygeology and arthistory of science

research interests of Andrea Baucon

TRACE FOSSILS

The fossilized products of life-substrate interactions (ichnofossils or trace fossils) are the only direct evidence for ancient animal behaviour. For instance, trilobite burrows and dinosaur tracks can tell us how their producers moved, dwelled or searched for food. I am interested in using ichnofossils for understanding behaviour and environment of extinct animals.

palaeoichnology logo - homepage of Andrea Baucon

MODERN ANIMAL ARCHITECTURES

Life produces sophisticate architectures by interacting with the substrate, e.g. the U-shaped burrows of bristleworms and the underground tunnels of ants. I am interested in understanding how animals build such architectures, what is their function and whether their distribution is environmentally-controlled.

COMPUTATIONAL PALEONTOLOGY

I am interested in using computational tools to explore quantitatively the fossil record. Fractal analysis can quantify geometries of extinct life; geostatistics allows to estimate the values of (paleo)biologically important variables at unsampled positions; network theory is very useful for finding patterns in complex paleontological datasets.

astrobiology logo - homepage of Andrea Baucon

ASTROBIOLOGY

Burrows, trails and tracks preserve the activity of soft-bodied organisms, are resilient to processes that obliterate other biological signatures and their shape is virtually independent from the biochemistry of their tracemakers. These properties motivate me to apply the study of life-substrate interactions (ichnology) to the search for life beyond Earth.

GEOLOGY IN ART & HISTORY OF PALAEONTOLOGY

Since Leonardo da Vinci times, art has been a passionate way to describe geological phenomena. I am interested in walking along this line of continuity between science and art to explore the history of geology, with particular emphasis on palaeontology.

I PRODUCE TRACES

by interacting with the substrate

SCIENTIFIC PORTFOLIO

interested in exploring my research? Click on the images below!

All
1. Palaeoichnology
2. Paleozoic
3. Mesozoic
4. Cenozoic
5. Neoichnology
6. Computational palaeontology
7. Astrobiology
8. History of palaeontology

“A new study [led by Andrea Baucon] suggests that burrows, borings and trails are ideal to detect any type of extraterrestrial life that may have been existed”

– National Geographic (September 2017)

National Geographic

“A team led by Andrea Baucon […] suggests that astrobiologists should follow suit and search not just for living and fossilised creatures, but also the traces they may have left behind”

– Mika McKinnon, New Scientist (22 July 2017)

new scientist

“A team of scientists […] led by Andrea Baucon […] proposes a new approach to astrobiology (the search for evidence of the existence of life on other planets): following the fossilized traces left by organisms”

– Matteo Marini, La Repubblica.it (July 2017)

La-Repubblica logo

“Baucon also discovered evidence that Leonardo da Vinci was the first to understand trace fossils, pushing the science of ichnology back several centuries”

– Adrienne Mayor, The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times (2011)

The-First-Fossil-Hunters3

TRACEMAKER BLOG

follow my research in a timeline fashion

January 2019

I am on Instagram!

The Tracemaker goes social… I am on Instagram!

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Why do I put all this effort into sampling modern ecosystems?

This photo gallery documents my typical day on the field during autumn times. I check…

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Quadrat: more than just a square frame!

Just as its name implies, a quadrat is a square frame. Despite its simplicity, the…

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The typical ichnoday

This photo gallery post documents the typical fieldwork day of autumn season: (1) Wearing the…

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December 2018

Dive into the unknown

Below the seafloor surface lies a vast, complex ecosystem, one of the Earth’s lesser-known environments….

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Quadrat + mounded burrow = quantitative ichnology

Today I continued conducting quadrat sampling in the amazing Ligurian Sea. This series of photos…

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Traces of the day: Siphonichnus and Teichichnus

Today I photographed paired openings on the seafloor. These openings have been produced by burrowing…

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Trace of the day: Thalassinoides

On some seafloors of the Ligurian Sea, sediment mounds tower smaller openings. Each mound is…

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From the backshore to the shoreface

A major part of my on-going research focuses on burrows and trails. However, the geological…

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October 2018

Today’s highlights

Here are some highlights from today’s snorkelling survey, mapping burrows from the coastline to the…

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STUDYING LIFE-SUBSTRATE INTERACTIONS

from the Mediterranean Sea to Mongolia

Andrea Baucon in Mongolia

POPULARIZATION OF GEOLOGY

Paleobiologica – 600 million years in art is a set of large-sized paintings that I realized for Dinoexpo, world’s largest travelling exibition about dinosaurs

Geology&Art is an exhibit exploring the aesthetic diversity of geological art

Mongolia in Super 8 is the reportage of a scientific expedition in Mongolia.Proudly done with a noisy Super 8 camera!

Geodelia is a Video Art installation linking Geology and Art. Do petrographic thin secions fit well into a music festival?