The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) is a joint research facility situated in Grenoble, France. This facility is the first-of-a-kind, generating low-emittance, high-energy X-rays (synchrotron light), enabling researchers to 3D image materials and living matter at exceptionally high resolutions. The ESRF allows researchers from member and associate countries to apply for beam time. These applications go through various review committees and are scored. The highest-scoring applications are accepted and allocated beam time shifts (1 shift = 8 hours). The ESRF funds the entire trip to and from the facility and the scanning itself for three users. With South Africa being an associate member of the ESRF, researchers can apply for scanning time at no cost to the researcher or institutes they work at. This gives South African researchers access to the best synchrotron facility in the world with no financial burden.
PalNews is an important part of the PSSA. The very first PalNews issue came out in 1977 and over the last 46 years there have been a total of 81 issues of the biannual newsletter. These cover all aspects of palaeontology in southern Africa. From fieldtrips to lab news, from conference attendances to information on the latest research from the community.
Southern African palaeontology is currently mourning the loss of one of its greats. We are dedicating this #FossilFriday to Charles K. 'Bob' Brain.
CK (Bob) Brain passed away peacefully on June 6th at his home in Irene. He was a founder member of the PSSA, Honorary Life Member and also the first President of the Society.
In his 1977 thesis, James Kitching reported the discovery of a Triassic therocephalian (NMQR389) at a farm he called Oranje, in the Bethulie District. This therocephalian was subsequently re-identified by Dr. Christian Kammerer as a gorgonopsian. If the Triassic age of the outcrops is confirmed, this Triassic gorgonopsian would be an extremely rare occurence, as it would mean it survived the “Great Dying”, 252 million years ago. There are two farms in the Bethulie area that may correspond to Kitching’s Oranje: Orangia, near Donovan’s Kop in the Bethulie District, which is a wellknown Lystrosaurus Assemblage Zone locality, and Oranje in the Phillipolis District.
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