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This year’s museum Christmas Lecture is being organized jointly with the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (ILES) of the University of Gibraltar. It will be held on Monday 16th December at 7pm at the University of Gibraltar. Entry is free and all are welcome. 

This year’s speaker is Professor Clive Finlayson, Director of the Gibraltar National Museum and of the ILES. Professor Finlayson will be drawing on the extensive research undertaken in Gibraltar over the past thirty years and which document the way in which climatic changes have affected the Rock in the past. These results will be supplemented and broadened by evidence of past global climate changes and its causes.

One important aspect of the Gibraltar evidence is a detailed record of flora and fauna covering 120 thousand years. This record shows combinations of species that we would not expect to encounter anywhere today, for example spotted hyaenas and wolves. Other examples show a remarkable constancy, independent of climate changes elsewhere, so that a visitor from today to the past would meet familiar species. Yet other examples reveal species from an Arctic world, far removed from us today. How can we grapple and make sense of these disparate observations? Today we live in an interglacial world, a warm world which has only occupied a small proportion of time in the past. Are there living examples of species today that show how fragile the climate balance is? These are questions that Professor Finlayson will attempt to answer at this year’s Christmas Lecture.

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