About Ichnia 2016
Under the scope of the United Nations Decade for Biodiversity, following the aims of the Geosciences International Program of UNESCO-IGCP, and mainly the subject Global Change and the Evolution of Life - Evidence from the geological record, and at the closing of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, The 4th International Congress on Ichnology is a joint organization of the International Ichnological Association, the Geopark Naturtejo da Meseta Meridional, Global Geopark under the auspices UNESCO and the National Museum of Natural History and Science of the University of Lisbon. This congress, under the general theme Ichnology for the 21st century: (Palaeo)Biological Traces towards Sustainable Development” will be organized for the first time in Portugal at the Technical University of Castelo Branco, College of Management at Idanha-a-Nova. The theme aspires for a discussion among peers upon traces (fossils) as biological behavior patterns preserved in sediments and rocks, including innovative applications of trace fossils in multidisciplinary research and the in loco protection of the ichnosites fostering sustainable development of the regions where they are found and projected as new interpretive tools for schools and tourists. Beyond that, trace fossils recall the response of organisms to environmental physical and chemical dynamic parameters, as well as the interaction with other members of the same population or community as part of the (palaeo)ecosystem where they belong to. Ichnology as scientific discipline of Palaeontology is devoted to the study of behavior and its evolution in the fossil record, through the trace fossils. The Paleolithic-to-present societies of hunter-gatherers have been applying techniques and reasoning that are basically part of modern Ichnology. The scientific background of this science comes back to Leonardo da Vinci and includes the pioneer palaeontologist and geologist in Portugal, the General Nery Delgado, in the 1800s as one of the backbones for the development of modern Ichnology. As scientific area that constantly bridges Geosciences with Biological Sciences, Ichnology shows significant importance for the modern Society including a range of interests as broad, cutting-edge and sensational as oil and groundwater reservoirs prospection and exploitation, the development of dynamic models for biological evolution and mass extinctions, to the reconstitution of the steps made by the first hominids and the conservation of historical and archaeological materials. The protected ichnological sites may also show strong revenue for education in science and social and economic development of local communities, through the burst of a responsible and sustainable kind of Nature Tourism (Geotourism). It is worth to mention in Portugal several dinosaur tracksites nature monuments, sites protected in Geoparks recognized by UNESCO and those included in the World Heritage List. The invitation addressed by the International Ichnological Association to Naturtejo Global Geopark, in Portugal, to organize the 4th International Congress on Ichnology results from the work that has been carried out by the team of the Geological Survey of Idanha-a-Nova, with several contributions in the latest years for Ichnology as scientific discipline, in general, and for the Ichnology of Portugal, in particular, namely in the research and protection of Penha Garcia Ichnological Park. With the inclusion of Naturtejo Global Geopark in the Global Geoparks Network under UNESCO for which decisively contributed the protection and valuing of this geological heritage, Penha Garcia is nowadays getting both national and international recognition and appreciation. In this way, with the organization of the 4th International Congress on Ichnology, the Organizing and Scientific Committees seek to bring Ichnology closer to Portuguese Academy and Society, by creating the good environment for innovation to the challenges that presently the country and society are facing, and that are included under the purposes of the equation Science, Technology, Society, Environment for science education, thus contributing for smart and inclusive growth sustained in the strategy Europe 2020. The universe of delegates for this congress, which is organized every four years, includes professors coming from the most diverse and prestigious national and international universities, in the fields of Geo- and Biosciences, as well as the best experts from International Research Institutes and Oil Industry, and researchers and technical experts working with protection and interpretation of Geological Heritage.