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Lauren Sallan  

Paleobiologist & TED Senior Fellow at University of Pennsylvania

Lauren Sallan uses the vast fossil record of fishes as a deep time database, mining to find out why some species persist and diversify while others die off. She has used these methods to discover the lost, largest, "sixth" mass extinction of vertebrates, the end-Devonian Hangenberg event (359 million years ago), reveal how fish heads changed first during their rise to dominance, test why some species thrive after global disruptions while others flounder and show how invasions by new predators can shift prey diversity at global scales.

Sallan is the Martin Meyerson assistant professor in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, became a TED Fellow in 2017 and a TED Senior Fellow in 2019. Her research has been published in high-profile venues such as Science, Nature, PNAS and Current Biology. It has also been featured by the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, BBC, Forbes, New Scientist, Discovery Channel and the recent popular science book "The Ends of the World" by Peter Brannen.

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