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Palaeontologist, Albany Museum (supported by the Millennium Trust and the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences, the NRF and the NSCF), Rhodes University

Robert Gess is based at the Albany Museum in Grahamstown. South Africa’s principle researcher on Devonian (420 – 359 million year old) marginal marine and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as Early Vertebrates (ancient fish and early four legged creatures).

The Late Devonian Waterloo Farm lagerstätte (exceptional fossil site) outside Grahamstown, continues to be his main focus of research. His excavations at Waterloo Farm have revealed the most complete record of a high latitude Famennian (latest Devonian) ecosystem in the world – including plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Exceptional preservation of much of the material allows unique glimpses of the normally unpreserved soft tissue remains of early animals.

Dr Gess is interested in understanding the changing nature of coastal and early land ecosystems of the Devonian and Early Carboniferous. He is therefore actively doing exploration and excavation in younger and older rocks of the Cape Supergroup.


  • –present
    Palaeontologist, Albany Museum, Rhodes University

Grants and Contracts

  • 2020
    Palaeontologist, Albany Museum
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation
  • Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown), South Africa
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