When thinking of fossil hunters, you might place them in the Badlands of Alberta or somewhere in China’s Gobi Desert. But there was a time when dinosaurs roamed what is now Antarctica. At the next Café Sci, join Carnegie Museum of Natural History paleontologist Matt Lamanna as he unearths the fossil history of one of the most difficult places to study on earth.
Fossils of land-living plants and animals from the end of the Mesozoic Era are extraordinarily rare in Antarctica, a circumstance due in large part to the continent’s remote location and its extensive covering of ice sheets. However, rock sequences exposed on islands in the James Ross Basin of the northern Antarctic Peninsula have provide a critical glimpse into the late Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystems of the continent. Lamanna will discuss how this precious fossil record is informing our understanding of environmental conditions at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs and then invite questions from the audience.
Along with his collaborators, Lamanna is conducting field studies in the James Ross Basin. Among the team’s most significant finds are rare fossils of non-avian dinosaurs and important new Mesozoic bird remains. Additional discoveries include material of fishes, marine reptiles, and a diverse fossil flora.
Lamanna is a paleontologist and the principal dinosaur researcher at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. He received his B.Sc. from Hobart College in 1997 and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 and 2004. Within the past 19 years, he has directed or co-directed field expeditions to Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, China, Egypt, and Greenland that have resulted in the discovery of multiple new species of dinosaurs and other Cretaceous-aged animals. Lamanna has also appeared on television programs for PBS (NOVA), the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, A&E, the Science Channel, and more.