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Norman MacLeod

Norman MacLeod (BSc, MSc, PhD, FGS, FLS) is a researcher at the Natural History Museum (London) having formerly been that institution’s Keeper of Palaeontology (2001-2012) and dean of postgraduate education and training (2012--2016). MacLeod is also honorary professor at University College London and a visiting professor at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is the editor of Automated Taxon Identification in Systematics: Theory, Approaches, and Applications (2007), the author of The Great Extinctions: What Causes Them and How They Shape Life (2013), the editor-in-chief of Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia: Extinctions (2013), and the coeditor with Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra of Issues in Palaeobiology: A Global View—Interviews and Essays (2014). He is currently writing a book on the mathematical analysis of morphology. Professor MacLeod also serves as cochief editor of Palaeoworld, associate editor of Systematic Biology, and an editorial board member of Royal Society Proceedings B (Biological Sciences).

Professor MacLeod has a wide range of research interests. He is perhaps best known for his work documenting patterns and understanding the causes of Phanerozoic extinctions, especially the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event where he is a leading proponent of the multiple-cause model. Equal in terms of output and prominence is his theoretical, methodological, and applied work in the field of morphometrics where he was an early proponent of geometric morphometrics, the use of outline semilandmarks to characterize form and shape, the morphometric characterization of 3D surfaces, and most recently the application of computer vision and machine learning methods to the analysis of morphology. Other research interests include macroevolution, evolutionary rates, quantitative biostratigraphy (especailly graphic correlation), applied statistics, and quantitative data analysis (especially multivariate ordination, discriminant analysis, Monte Carlo simulation, bootstrapping, and jackknifing). In addition to his scientific research MacLeod has developed minor intellectual sidelines in art history (especially with regard to scientific images) and the effect of human evolutionary biology and climate change on human history.


Click here to read his response to Catherine Malabou's “One Life Only: Biological Resistance, Political Resistance.”

Book Reviews