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Annual Meeting 2021 - Manchester, UK: Overview

Number: 65th Annual Meeting
Year: 2021
Location: Manchester, UK
Hosted By: University of Manchester, UK
Organised By: Organising committee chaired by Dr Robert Sansom
General Contact Email:


The 65th annual meeting of the Palaeontological Association, organized by the University of Manchester will take place from 18th to 20th December 2021. Originally organised as an in-person meeting, on the 11th of December 2021 we made the difficult decision to switch the conference to a virtual meeting only. The PalAss council had been monitoring the emerging situation regarding the Omicron variant closely over the preceeding two weeks, and decided that this was the best course of action. We recognize that this will cause inconvenience and expense to a large number of individuals, which we very much regret. 

14th December - Update

We can now confirm that the meeting will run as follows:

  • Talks will be delivered live via Zoom sessions limited to speakers, and live streamed to a delegates-only page on the PalAss website: Talks page
  • After each session, a recording of the live stream will remain accessible to conference delegates for the duration of the conference.  
  • Speakers have the option to provide pre-recorded talks in place of (or in addition to, allowing corrected closed captions) their live one. 
  • Posters will also be presented via a a delegates-only page on the PalAss website: Posters page.
  • Questions on both can be asked using the online platform Slack. Our delegates-only Slack page contains instructions on signing up and using Slack.
  • Questions will be answered via Slack, and also via chairs in a grouped Q&A on Zoom at the end of each session.
  • The programme is largely unchanged from the live schedule, although all social events can no longer go ahead, and we have included the Awards Ceremony in the AGM on Sunday afternoon.
  • Members will be able to view delegates-only pages on logging into the website after the 16th of December. Non-members will be emailed a temporary login on the 16th.

Given the timescales under which we are organising this virtual meeting, small changes are likely: the PalAss website ( always has the most up to date information on this meeting. 

The organizing committee is chaired by Robert Sansom, with Russell Garwood and other members of Manchester’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Ancient Life (ICAL) and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Workshops and symposium

The meeting will begin with a workshop on Friday 17th on palaeoethics. The meeting will continue on the afternoon of Saturday the 18th with a special thematic symposium ‘The Problem of Problematica: pushing the limits of the fossil record’. There will be talks from six international invited speakers addressing a broad range of topics, including geological, biological, ecological and taphonomic approaches to resolving the affinity and evolution of problematic fossil taxa, with important case studies from geological history. 

Registration and booking

Registration, booking and abstract submission will commence 1st September. Abstract submission will close at the end of September (23:59, 30th September) and abstracts submitted after the closing date will not be considered. Registration after that date will incur an additional administration charge, with the final deadline for registration in December 2021. Registration and bookings for in-person events will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Virtual delegates will also be required to register to access the remote content. The association recognises that these are trying times, and is offering discounts for members.

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