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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


by interacting with the substrate

“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)



follow my research in a timeline fashion

August 2020

Surf (bodyboarding) and ichnology

My life revolves around weather patterns, tides, and the surf. – Mike Stewart Bodyboarding is…

Read More

Galleries in black shales: a gallery

The word pun of the title refers to the fossil tunnels preserved in the Genna…

Read More
July 2020

Bioturbated black shales

Black shales are dark, fine-grained rocks that conjure up with images of lifeless seafloors. In…

Read More

My research on La Stampa

My research appeared on La Stampa! La Stampa is one of the oldest and major…

Read More

Interviewed on the Science Show

Did we discover extraterrestrial ichnofossils? Me and Roberto Cabella answered this question on Renato Sartini’s…

Read More
February 2020

Why did an organism produce Chondrites?

The iconic fossil Chondrites is broadly seaweed-shaped, and is one of the most common—and historically…

Read More
January 2020

The Northern Adriatic Sea as a model for past seas

The Northern Adriatic Sea is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea. As a shallow…

Read More
October 2019

Ichnofossils, astrobiology… and music!

On the 8th November, I will present my astrobiological studies at the University of Genova….

Read More
August 2019

Travelling in Portugal: from Palaeozoic to Pleistocene

During this summer I travelled to Portugal. Sounds like a big trip, but it is…

Read More

Da Vinci and petrified shells

Leonardo da Vinci and palaeontology | part 2 (Click this link for part 1) Among…

Read More


from the Mediterranean Sea to Mongolia

Andrea Baucon in Mongolia


creative ways to disseminate 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.

Why geology in art? I tackled this question by interviewing contemporary artists dealing with geology. The answer is surprising!

Mongolia in Super 8 is the reportage of a scientific expedition in Mongolia. Proudly made 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?