Dr Elsa Panciroli is a Scottish palaeontologist and biologist, who studies the early origins and evolution of mammals. She is an Associate Researcher at National Museums Scotland, a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellow at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and an EPA Cephalosporin Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College, Oxford.
Her work centres on fossils she has helped discover during regular fieldwork on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. She has published scientific articles on subjects including mammals, reptiles, dinosaurs, fossil footprints, salamanders and the history of science, and has taught classes at the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh on topics in evolutionary biology, zoology, palaeontology and scientific visualisation.
Elsa has written two books, both of which received praise in the press. Her debut, Beasts Before Us: The Untold Story of Mammal Origins and Evolution, (Bloomsbury Sigma, June 2021) was described in The New York Times as “smart, passionate and seditious”. Her “extraordinarily accessible and informative” second book, The Earth: A Biography of Life came out in 2022 (Quercus Greenfinch).
She is a graduate of the BBC Academy Expert Women training programme, and has appeared on radio, television and podcasts including BBC Crowdscience, The John Beatty Show, The Nine, and Our Lives. From 2016-2018 she was a regular paid contributor for the Guardian, and has also written articles for BBC Science Focus, Biological Sciences Review and The Scotsman, among other in-print and online magazines and journals.
She was a judge and co-organiser of the Hugh Miller Writing Competition, and co-edited an anthology of geological-themed writing, Conversations in Stone. She gives talks about science to people of all ages and backgrounds, including geological societies, schools and as an invited speaker at festivals, conferences and events, including New Scientist Live.
Her next book, Survival of the Unfittest, will be published by John Murray and Harper Wave in 2025