I’ve just returned from a week away in Khon Kaen in northeastern Thailand where I attended the 6th International Palaeontological Congress (IPC6). The IPC meetings are held every four years since the first meeting in Australia in 2002. I wasn’t at that meeting, but I’ve been lucky enough to attend the previous three meetings prior to Thailand this year (IPC3 London, IPC4 Mendoza, and IPC5 Paris).
IPC brings together all sorts of palaeontologists, those who work on plants, trace fossils, micro fossils, invertebrates and vertebrates, to communicate their latest research and findings. The theme of the meetings was “From Gondwana to Laurasia” reflecting the great geological and palaeontological diversity of Thailand’s terranes. (Gondwana and Laurasia were the southern and northern supercontinents respectively that formed Pangaea during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic).
There were more than 400 participants from 40 countries participating in over 30 differently themed sessions. The disappointingly low representation of women (let alone non-binary) keynote and plenary talks was noted (only 2 out of 18! Do better palaeo!), and some insensitive remarks at the final conference dinner highlighted that we still have far to go to reach gender equality in palaeontology.
However, I’m very pleased to say that I had the honour of giving the keynote for the “Digital Palaeontology” session, as well as giving a second talk about coelacanths in the “Palaeozoic Fish and Early Tetrapods” session.
Aside from all the talks and posters, we were kept busy with conference dinners and music performances and optional mid-conference daytrips to see nearby Khmer temple ruins (spectacular Phimai) and attend the local Loy Krathong (Lantern Festival) celebrations in Khon Kaen.
As always, it was fantastic to meet up with old colleagues and meet new ones. There were many projects discussed over breakfast, lunch and pre-dinner drinks throughout the week which can be surprisingly productive! I’m very much looking forward to the next meeting in Cape Town 2026 (thanks Anusuya!)