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Prof. Mary H. Schweitzer nominated as an honorary doctor at Lund University


Prof. Mary Higby Schweitzer is without doubt the foremost scientist in the field of molecular palaeobiology. Over the last two decades, she has developed detailed protocols to extract, recover and characterize ancient proteinaceous matter. Additionally, she has been able to demonstrate that collagenous sequences obtained from Late Cretaceous dinosaurs closely match those of extant birds, and as such she has performed the first phylogenetic analyses based on molecular data that include fossil animals that have been extinct for several tens of millions of years. Prof. Schweitzer has also, for the first time, documented the presence of blood-breakdown products in dinosaur bones, as well as the presence of medullary bone in a female Tyrannosaurus rex. Given that this reproductive tissue is gender-specific, she is the first scientist to provide an objective means of gender differentiation in nonavian dinosaurs. The importance of her work is clearly demonstrated by her impressive publication record, which includes multiple papers in, e.g., Science and PNAS.