Palaeontology is a science like no other.
Since I was a child, I have had a fascination with palaeontology and the natural world. Now, I work professionally as a palaeontologist, author, and science communicator. My works have taken me across the globe. This has included working on many fascinating projects, from excavating dinosaurs in the American West, to describing new species of extinct marine reptiles, and winning a gold medal for excellence in science (at the House of Commons, London). Currently, I am a Visiting Scientist in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at The University of Manchester. This unpaid position includes mentoring students as a specialist advisor. My research interests are broad, and range from studies on arthropods to trace fossils, but I have become an expert on Early Jurassic ichthyosaurs and British dinosaurs.
I am passionate about communicating palaeontology with the public and regularly appear on television (e.g. BBC, ITV, and CNN) and radio, including as expert co-presenter and series advisor for Dinosaur Britain. As a scientist, I feel it is vital to share my research with the public, to help others understand what it is I do, why it is important, and what it means. I have written two books (Fossils of the Whitby Coast, 2011; and Dinosaurs of the British Isles, 2014), numerous scientific papers, and many popular articles. I am also the patron of the UK Association of Fossil Hunters organisation (UKAFH).
I am currently a Visiting Scientist in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES) at The University of Manchester, UK.
I first began scientific research in 2008 (when I was 18), with my first peer-reviewed publication in 2010. My research interests are broad, but I am internationally recognised as a leading expert on Early Jurassic ichthyosaurs (marine reptiles that superficially resemble dolphins), especially the genus Ichthyosaurus. Most of my academic research has been as lead author and has focused on this topic. However, some of my other works have included describing death trackways, plesiosaurs, and ammonite death drags, along with writing the only book on British dinosaurs – a major contribution to British palaeontology. Such projects have led to research on some fantastic fossils, which have resulted in the description of new species, the first occurrence of specimens in the fossil record, and the rediscovery of material ‘hidden’ in collections.
A couple of research highlights include: the discovery of a new ichthyosaur species, previously misidentified as a ‘plaster copy’, which I identified and named in honour of my childhood hero, Mary Anning (Ichthyosaurus anningae); the world’s longest death track, a 9.7 m long trackway created by a 150 million-year-old horseshoe crab with the animal preserved at the end; and a new, 310 million-year-old fossil site in my hometown, which included the discovery of fossils never found in the area, including a shark egg case.
To help disseminate my research, I give various lectures at numerous institutions, at professional conferences, and by utilizing the power of social media. You can read more about my public events here.
Most of my research is self-funded. As a freelance palaeontologist, what I earn from consultancy projects is invested into my research and science communication works. For example, the book, Dinosaurs of the British Isles, was entirely self-funded, which included travelling across the UK, Europe, and the USA to see, examine, and photograph specimens in collections. All of this was over a period of three and a half years. Like this, my studies revolve around my passion and desire to examine and bring incredible discoveries and new research to the attention of the scientific and public communities.
With your support, it would enable me to continue to visit collections across the world, and partake in fieldwork. This will entail the rediscovery of specimens in museum collections and in the field, resulting in new science. As a science communicator, your kind support will assist in covering the costs of my science communication projects, including writing popular articles for the general public, giving talks, and continuing to share my works via various media platforms.
Lomax, D. R., Falkingham, P. L., Schweigert, G. and Jiménez, A. P. 2017. An 8.5 m long ammonite drag mark from the Upper Jurassic Solnhofen Lithographic Limestones, Germany. PLOS ONE, published here.
Lomax, D. R. and Massare, J. A. 2017. Two new species of Ichthyosaurus from the lowermost Jurassic (Hettangian) of Somerset, England. Papers in Palaeontology.
Lomax, D. R. 2016. A new leptonectid ichthyosaur from the Lower Jurassic (Hettangian) of Nottinghamshire, England, UK, and the taxonomic usefulness of the ichthyosaurian coracoid. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
Lomax, D. R. and J. A. Massare. 2015. A new species of Ichthyosaurus from the Lower Jurassic of west Dorset, England. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.
Lomax, D. R. and Tamura, N. 2014. Dinosaurs of the British Isles. Siri Scientific Press, Manchester. pp. 416.
Lomax, D. R. and Racay, C. A. 2012. A long mortichnial trackway of Mesolimulus walchi from the Upper Jurassic Solnhofen Lithographic Limestone near Wintershof, Germany. Ichnos, 19: 189–197.