I have studied biology, paleontology and parasitology at the Eberhard-Karls-University in Tübingen (Germany), where I made my Ph.D. with summa cum laude in 1999. Since 1999 I am working as scientific curator for amber and fossil insects at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart (Germany).
Current research projects: Fossil history, evolution and phylogeny of dragonflies and other basal pterygote insects ("Palaeoptera"); fossil insects from Mesozoic limestones and from Burmese amber; and the OmniPhyloTree-project, which is a hyperbolic phylogenetic/phylogenomic supertree of all taxa of fossil and recent organisms above the genus level from bacteria to men (currently including 24.412 taxa).
General research interests: Insect evolution, phylogeny and fossil history; phylogenetic systematics of fossil and extant dragonflies and damselflies; "higher" phylogeny of all groups of organisms (the universal "tree of life", incl. phylogenomics); paleoanthropology; evolutionary biology (incl. non-mainstream theories of evolution); theory of biological systematics; species concepts; and biophilosophy.
For further information, free PDFs of most of my publications, and links to recordings of my TV and radio appearances please check my scientific homepage at:
Metaphysics (incl. implications and interpretation of modern physics, philosophy of time and mind) and metaethics; Tegmark's mathematical universe hypothesis and Tononi's integrated information theory; prehistory and ancient history; naturalism and secularism; techno-utopianism; "bright green" environmentalism and nature conservation; nature and wildlife; traveling and hiking; digital photography and digital image processing; Apple Mac OSX und iOS; Web 2.0 (e.g. Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr); open source/content/access/science movements; genealogy; slow food; TV documentaries on nature and ancient cultures; science fiction and fantasy movies and novels.
I am a paleo-entomologist and love nature, science, naturalism, secularism, modern Western culture, techno-utopianism, and the theories of Tegmark and Tononi.
A detailed elaboration of my worldview is available in this Facebook note
- "If you cannot find it on Google, it does not exist." (Anonymous)
- "Das Menschenpack fürchtet sich vor nichts mehr als vor dem Verstande." (Goethe)
- "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." (Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion")
Activity at WikipediaEdit
I contribute since 2007 under this account to the German Wikipedia and since 2008 to the English Wikipedia. Since the early days of Nupedia I occasionaly contributed to Wikipedia without account.
For the English Wikipedia I mainly contributed to issues of paleontology (e.g. Sclerocephalus and Coxoplectoptera) and zoology, as well as Whiteheadian process philosophy (e.g. Joseph Bracken and Milič Čapek). For the German Wikipedia I also wrote on paleontological and evolutionary biology topics (e.g. Chimärenflügler and Wolf-Ernst Reif), and contributed to the following issues from a skeptical viewpoint: Wicca religion (incl. Wicca traditions and Wiccan holidays), phantom time hypothesis, Sirius mystery of the Dogon, Ervin László, Laurence Gardner, as well as dubious (pseudo)archaeology like the Atlantis theories of Jürgen Spanuth, Lower Paleolithic pseudo-artefacts, alleged Paleolithic monuments, and Marie E.P. König.
Recent work on WikipediaEdit
On the German Wikipedia I will continue to supervise all those pages that I created or heavily edited, but I will otherwise only work on the page of my research institution State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart.
Apart from minor edits and error corrections my future work on the English Wikipedia will mainly focus on articles about fossil dragonflies (e.g. Stenophlebiidae and Tarsophlebiidae) and the following scientific issues:
- odonatology (taxonomy with species lists, phylogenetic systematics, famous odonatologists, odonatological periodicals and associations)
- paleoentomology (fossil insects, outcrops, famous paleoentomologists, paleoentomological periodicals and associations, amber, Solnhofen limestones, Crato Formation)
- entomology (phylogenetic systematics of orders, evolution of wings)
- State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart
- providing (via Wikimedia Commons) missing images for various articles, mainly in the fields of paleontology, fossil insects (paleoentomology), and dragonfly research (odonatology)
I will also contribute to the Wikispecies project, esp. to the taxonomy and systematics of fossil and recent Odonata, and the phylogenetics systematics of insect orders.
My Wikipedia philosophyEdit
I am strongly opposed to Wikipedia red-tapism, censorship, political correctness, scrupulous banning, unjustified deletionism, picky notability criteria, and abuse of administrator rights. I advocate a more open approach with very loose notability guidelines ("inclusionism") as Wikipedia philosophies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deletionism_and_inclusionism_in_Wikipedia).
Albeit, it is beyond dispute that vandalism, misinformation, irrelevant nonsense, advertising, and worldview propaganda must be prevented by a sensible application of the measures mentioned above, even though in most cases reverts and edits by the Wikipedia community will be sufficient.
Activity at Wikimedia CommonsEdit
- providing photos in the field of paleontology, mainly of fossil arthropods and insects (esp. odonates)
- providing photos for Wikipedia articles that lack suitable figures