Researcher biography

Caitlin's research focuses on the taphonomic characteristics of mid-Cretaceous dinosaur, crocodyliform, and fish fossils found in the Winton Formation at Isisford, central-western Queensland. A majority are preserved as articulated and associated skeletons, which is extremely rare in Australia.  Of further significance is the fact that the fossils occur in concretions of what appears to be an inferred high-energy, river-derived sandstone. The completeness of the Isisford fossils allows for the precise determination of the timing between death, decay and burial. Understanding the geochemical mechanisms behind the formation of the fossil-bearing concretion will further permit an understanding of sedimentation rates, and will help determine the ancient environment in which they formed. Combined with detailed understanding of the decay process, mineralisation of soft tissue and bones, and post-burial processes, the results will provide a valuable snapshot of this Australian mid-Cretaceous environment.

In October 2013, Caitlin took out the Best Student Oral Presentation prize at the 14th Conference on Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology, and Systematics (CAVEPS) in Adelaide. Caitlin's talk was titlted "Patterns of aquatic decay and disarticulation in juvenile Indo-Pacific crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), and implications for the taphonomic interpretation of fossil crocodyliform material".

Stay tuned for the follow up publication!

Check out Caitlin's blog Taphonovenatrix

Publications

Syme, C.E. and Salisbury, S.W. 2014. Patterns of aquatic decay and disarticulation in juvenile Indo-Pacific crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), and implications for the taphonomic interpretation of fossil crocodyliform material. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 421, 108–123. pdf

Conference abstracts

Syme, C.E. and Salisbury, S.W. 2014. Slow burial in a fast world: unusually high skeletal completeness in channel deposits. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Program and Abstracts, 2014, 238.

Syme, C.E. and Salisbury, S.W. 2013. Patterns of aquatic decay and disarticulation in juvenile Indo-Pacific crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), and implications for the taphonomic interpretation of fossil crocodyliform material; pp. 79-80, 14th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology & Systematics, Program & Abstracts. Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia.