Dr Neil Gostling
I am the first person in my family to go to university, and I went all the way! I thank my Mum, and also David Attenborough’s documentaries, for inspiring me; and as a result I am a palaeobiologist. I have been lucky enough to work on some of the most exciting fossils in the world!
I have explored fossils of developing animals, like some of the earliest mammals – Morganucodon and Kuhneotherium. I worked out what they ate and how they lived. My team is currently working on dinosaurs and the earliest birds. We recently named 2 new dinosaur species: Ceratosuchops and Riparovenator from the Isle of Wight (the best place for dinosaurs).
I teach university biology students about evolution, and get to travel around the world doing research and teaching on field courses.
I find dinosaurs so fascinating, and enjoy spotting animals and plants that are linked to the time of the dinosaurs. My wife Claire and I created a Facebook page called The Dinosaur on you Windowsill so that people could share amazing things they find in nature and to get experts to help understand more about them!
Neil Gostling is our Dinosaurs and Fossils box champion.
I love being a scientist because...
I get to work with people who are interested in the things that I am. This might be colleagues working on a project, students trying to decided what they want to do with their degree, or school children who want to know more about dinosaurs.
The most awesome thing I have done so far is...
I led a field course for Masters students to the Galapagos. The animals and plants on these islands helped Charles Darwin to form his Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. They are beautiful, and the plants and animals like nothing else on Earth!
My heroes are...
Sir David Attenborough
Advice I would give my 7 year old self...
Keep at it! You will ‘get there’ and find the thing you love to do; even if you don’t know what it is yet!
At primary school my favourite thing to do was...
Watch Star Wars and go fossil hunting in Lesness Abbey Woods in South East London (and a visit the Natural History Museum, of course).