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Profile of the Talk
Lebanese amber is the oldest one in the world with intensive biological inclusions. This amber was formed during a crucial age in the evolution of life on Earth, that is the Lower Cretaceous, during which the flowering plants appeared and made a drastic changes in the environment. So this period witnessed the disappearance of several old insects' groups which were replaced by our recent fauna in co-evolution with the flowering plants.
The presentation will show the different sites where the amber is found in Lebanon and the biological inclusions which are entombed inside this amber. Most of the time the Lebanese amber hold the record for preservation of the latest representatives of extinct groups and the oldest representatives of recent groups. This fact makes the Lebanese amber the most important one scientifically in the world.
Dany Azar, born in Sin El-Fil (Lebanon) on 19thAugust 1973, is currently a Professor and Research Director at the Lebanese University - Faculty of Science II, Fanar, Lebanon. He achieved his PhD in 2000 in University Paris XI (France). He received his Accreditation to Supervise Researches (Habilitation) in 2003 from the University of Reims-Champagne-Ardennes (France). His expertise on amber and fossil insects is wide and includes several groups. He supervised and co-supervised twelve PhDs among which three in progress.
He is a founder member (2001) of theInternational Palaeoentomological Society (IPS)and was its President for two successive times (April 2013–April 2019). He was appointed the honorary membership of the IPS in 2013 [during the Byblos Congress (6thFossils x3) that he organized]. During his mandate, the IPS was officially registered on the 1stof October 2015 in Paris. In 2016 [during the Edinburgh Congress (7thFossils x3)] he declared the 1stof October of each year the ‘Fossil Insects Day’. Since that, every year this occasion is celebrated by the emission of special limited edition postal stamps with fossil insects (in amber or impressions). In 2018, with Diying Huang and Jacek Szwedo, Azar founded the journal ‘Palaeoentomology’.
Dany Azar is also Vice-President of the World Amber Council (Gdansk, Poland), since May 2013; and President and Founder of the Paleontological and Evolutive Lebanese Association (APEL). He is Editor in Chief of ‘Palaeoentomology; Associate Editor of ‘the Science of Nature’; member of the editorial boards of Polskie Pismo Entomologiczne,Life the Excitement of Biology,Annales de la Société Entomologique de France.
He was visiting Professor several times in the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris (France), the Natural History Museum, London, (UK); Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing (China); Department of Earth of the University of Rennes (France). He organized the “6thFossil x3” Congress, in 2013, in Lebanon. He published about 300 research papers, including several in high-profile journals. His publications are cited almost 3350 times (till January 2021), h-index = 29.
Dany Azar is the discoverer of hundreds of amber outcrops in several countries [like Lebanon (mainly), France, Norway (Spitzbergen) and China] and several dozens of records of earliest or most recent occurrence of several entomological groups. He co-discovered the first dinosaurs of Lebanon as well and he is the first person in this country to find and extract petroleum in shale oil. He has undertaken field works and expertise on fossil insects in many institutions and countries (France, China, UK, USA, Russia, Poland, Germany, Spitzbergen, Spain, Lebanon).
He received several awards:
2018: Green Phoenix for the accomplished scientific work from the Association LEBA and the Saint Joseph University.
2017: Award of Distinguished Veteran for Lebanon and Arabic World; in 2014: Reward Jesus Santiago Moure of Taxonomy, delivered by the Brazilian Society of Zoology for the best scientific publication on taxonomy for the years 2012–2013.
2013: Award and Medal of the Presidency of the City of Gdansk (Poland) delivered by the President of the City of Gdansk for his active participation in the study of fossil insects in amber.
2012: Award and Medal of distinguished searcher delivered by the Lebanese National Council of Scientific Research (CNRSL) in the occasion of its golden jubilee, in the house of Government; in 2006: Medal of the Franco Lebanese bilateral scientific program (CEDRE), for the best project within the ten years of the creation of the CEDRE program.
1998: Award “Basualdo Aguirre” from the “Chancellerie des Universités de Paris”, allotted as recompense to scientific work carried out.