Andrea Baucon – the Tracemaker: palaeontology, ichnology and popularization of geology

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!

[hygge_animated_heading title=”Research interests” subtitle=”I research on” text=”fossil burrows,modern burrows,astrobiology,geology and art,history of science”]
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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.[/hygge_service]

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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.[/hygge_service]

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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.[/hygge_service]

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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.[/hygge_service]

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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.[/hygge_service]

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“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)

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“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 (July 2017)

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“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)

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[hygge_section_title layout=”large” title=”STUDYING LIFE-SUBSTRATE INTERACTIONS” subtitle=”from the Mediterranean Sea to Mongolia”]
Andrea Baucon in Mongolia
[hygge_section_title title=”POPULARIZATION OF GEOLOGY” subtitle=”creative ways to disseminate geology”]
[hygge_toggles][hygge_toggles_content title=”Exhibits”]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![/hygge_toggles_content][hygge_toggles_content title=”Videos”]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?[/hygge_toggles_content][/hygge_toggles]