Heinrich Mallison, Researcher, Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity at the Humboldt University Berlin.
I’m a geologist/palaeontologist trying hard to use digital techniques to unlock the remaining secrets of dinosaur locomotion.
1. What first got you interested or involved in your research field?
I guess – but given my age of roughly 6 years back then it’s kinda hard to tell – I guess it was a dinosaur book my Dad bought me in the Stuttgart Zoo’s shop (no idea why a dinosaur book).
2. What is your favourite piece of research?
The speedwalking dinosaur hypothesis I still need to publish.
3. What do you think is the most interesting or important discovery in your field in recent years?
That basal dinosaurs, and even basal dinosauromorphs, were so much more bird-like [and, by convergence, mammal-like] with regards to lungs, metabolism, bone growth, etc. then previously imagined. Suddenly, many questions resolve themselves into a fitting picture, and many supposed/questionable convergences default into shared inheritance!
4. What do you think is the biggest unanswered question in your field right now?
Funding – when will politicians understand that basic research is more important than a short-time blip in the GNP?
5. What advice would you give to students about research?
Palaeontology is a true multidisciplinary science. Therefore, it does not matter what you study officially (geology, palaeontology, zoology, botany, climate research, physics, veterinary of human medicine, engineering, etc.) – you have to do them all anyway! Find a subject what can feed you if there is no research funding for dinosaurs.