The explosive rise of animals some 530 million years ago was a watershed event in the history of life, but what caused it remains mysterious. An intriguing new theory will be discussed next week by paleobiologist Dr. Kevin J. Peterson, BGSU’s 2009 Harold McMaster Endowed Visiting Scientist.
In his public lecture on "microRNAs and the Evolution of Animal Body Plans," at 4 p.m. Monday (Sept. 14) in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater, Peterson will suggest that a newly recognized group of genes—microRNAs—might have played a unique role in this “Cambrian explosion” of animal body plans, and thus RNA might hold not only the key to understanding the origin of life, but the origins of complex life as well. Following Peterson’s talk, a reception open to all will take place outside the theater.
Peterson, an associate professor of biology at Dartmouth College, focuses his research on attacking the problems surrounding early animal evolution using a molecular paleobiological approach. He is a 1989 graduate of Carroll College and earned his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1996.
To learn more about Peterson and his research, visit