Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology
Area: Natural History, Fossils & Evolution
Interests: Burgess Shale, Cambrian Explosion, Evolution, Origin of animals, Palaeocology
Exhibitions & Galleries: Gallery of Early Life
B.Sc., Earth and Life Sciences, University Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, 1997
M.Sc., Earth Sciences, University Claude-Bernard, Lyon, 1999
Ph.D., Zoology, University of Toronto, 2005
Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron is the Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, Canada. After becoming fascinated with fossils as a child in France, he spent the summers of his teenaged years volunteering at archaeological and palaeontological digs across Europe. He went on to obtain his Diplôme d'Études Approfondies in Palaeontology, Sedimentology and Chronology from theUniversity Claude-Bernard, Lyon, before completing his doctoral dissertation at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Caron’s research focuses on the fossilization and ecology of animals that lived during the Cambrian “explosion” of diversity around 540 to 485 million years ago. He leads regular fieldwork activities during the summers to recover fossils of these animals from the Burgess Shale in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. Dr. Caron has won many awards for his research and outreach activities on the Burgess Shale, including the Pikaia Award for outstanding contributions to Canadian research from the Palaeontology Division of the Geological Association of Canada. Several of his studies, including announcements of the discoveries of new organisms, such as the oldest known fish outside of China, were published in top journals such as Science and Nature. Dr. Caron is dedicated to public outreach as well as to research; he was interviewed by Sir David Attenborough in the Emmy-winning series “First Life,” and also appeared numerous radio interviews and in BBC and Discovery Channel documentaries on Cambrian fossils. Dr. Caron is also overseeing the development of the ROM’s permanent Gallery of the Dawn of Life.
The Cambrian radiation represents the sudden worldwide appearance and rapid diversification of animals.