Set Presentations by Paul Willis

Paul has a number of set presentations that he can be called on to present at short notice. 

Picture Credit: Richard Allaway

Finding a Dinosaur inside a BBQed Duck

Paul's signature presentation presented many times all over Australia.

Modern zoological discoveries have confirmed that birds are living dinosaurs, specifically descended from the meat-eating dinosaurs or Theropods. So it stands to reason that we should be able to find features inside modern birds that they have inherited from the dinosaurs.

In this presentation Paul takes the audience in search of the dinosaur hidden inside a humble BBQed duck. It's an entertaining romp through modern evolutionary theory as well as a look through some important moments in the history of science all negotiated while Paul dismembers the hapless duck.

This is hands-on evolutionary theory brought to life on stage.

Perfect for high-school groups, undergraduate students and interested adult audiences, Paul has also presented this talk at corporate functions, science fairs and conferences.

Science Communication in the 21st Century

This continually updating presentation explores the changes to science communication with the roll out of digital technology and social media. It explores opportunities for researchers and academics to take control of their stories and how to present them to the world independent of the traditional media outlets. It also looks at the changing face of science communication away from inspiring audiences and toward communicating the relevance of research to the audience. 

Paul has been at the forefront of science communication in Australia for the last 25 years and has lead the way through this rapidly-changing landscape. He is perfectly qualified to explain what's happened and what the future will look like for the communication of stories from research to the non-academic world.

Otto Nordenskjold and Antarctic Fossils

The greatest story of Antarctic exploration never told! Otto Nordenskjold went to Antarctica in search of fossils and ended up having one of the most perilous Antarctic adventures of all time. 

In this presentation, Paul traces the Antarctic footsteps of Nordenskjold and his team, recounts the perils they faced, and uncovers the fossils and other science they conducted. Paul also brings the audience up to date with Antarctic palaeontology having been there 10 times himself.

Paul has presented this talk many times to school groups and adult audiences interested in all things Antarctic. This presentation has also been the basis for several stories on the ABC TV Catalyst program.

Click on image to go to the Catalyst story

Paul's PhD studies revealed a previously unknown and complex prehistory spanning over 110 million years. Along the way he described many new species and genera of crocodiles representing a stunning variety of forms.


As his career developed in new directions, Paul realised that many of the lessons learned from is croc studies could translate to modern business. There's always a place for a croc that's perfectly suited to it's environment in the same way that there's always a place for a business in a stable market. Alternatively, a new environment or a space in an ecosystem presents an opportunity for a new species of croc in the same way that a changing economy creates new opportunities for business. Ultimately, dependance on the environment is absolute; if a species can't adapt, change or compete, it will go extinct - just like business.

This presents the findings of Paul's research and draws from it lessons for business in an entertaining and thought-provoking talk perfect for something unusual at corporate dinners or events.

Ancient Aussie Crocs: lessons for today's business
Digging Up Deep Time

Paul has been intimately involved in Australian fossil excavations of fossils, including several dinosaurs, both as a palaeontologist and as a science reporter for ABC TV's Catalyst program. And the last 20 years has seen an explosion around our knowledge of Aussie dinosaurs and other Mesozoic monsters with amazing finds from across the continent.

In this talk, Paul takes the audience through this history of exploration in search of ancient Aussies and discusses what has been found.


Originally this talk was based on his book with Abbie Thomas, Digging Up Deep Time (2005) but now covers many exciting discoveries of the last decade of paleontological research.

Great for school and interested public but also a corporate dinner talk with a difference.

On a Piece of Chalk

Paul is working on a dramatisation of this classic lecture by TH Huxley.

This is a significant moment in science communication written during a highly significant period in the history of science by one of the greatest of all earth scientists and science communicators. 

Paul's presentation will include a Q&A discussion after the lecture to reflect on how much of this masterpiece still hold true today and what updates have occurred since it was first presented in 1868.

This presentation will be perfect for high-school students, undergraduates and interested adult audiences. It could also be presented at conferences as a keynote or at a corporate function as entertainment with a difference.