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Speaker Series is offering two presentations at the Royal Tyrrell Museum this week.
The March 16 session is a presentation by Dr. Takuya Konishi, University of Cincinnati, entitled “Sharing Under the Cretaceous Sea: Global Distribution Achieved by Halisaurine Mosasaurs Explained by a New Discovery from Japan.”
Mosasaurs were large, flipper-bearing swimming lizards from the age of the last dinosaurs, about 100–66 million years ago.
Out of this highly diverse assemblage, halisaurine mosasaurs were small and seemed less well adapted to life in water since they lacked the well- developed flippers and tail fin of their larger contemporaries. Yet these small mosasaurs became increasingly more common in the fossil record towards the end of the Cretaceous, indicating their evolutionary success alongside their larger, fast-swimming cousins.
In his talk, Konishi will explain why a recently discovered skull from Japan sheds new light on halisaurine mosasaurs’ potential survival strategy: that halisaurines evolved a pair of large, forward-facing eyes that would have increased their ability to see in the dark, allowing them to hunt at night.
The Friday, March 17 session is a presentation by Dr. Grant Zazula, Yukon Government, entitled Ice Age Mammals of the Frozen North.
Since the earliest discoveries during the famed Klondike gold rush of 1898, scientists have ventured into the remote tundra and boreal forest of northwest Canada to study the fossils of woolly mammoths, giant beavers, arctic camels and their cohorts.
This tradition of gold miners and palaeontologists working collaboratively continues today with the Yukon Government’s palaeontology program. The permafrost exposed by Yukon gold miners is an internationally renowned archive of arctic environmental change and major source of ice age vertebrates, including ancient DNA preserved in these fossil bones. In his talk, Zazula will explore how research on the ice age record of Yukon is leading to valuable insights into how ancient mammal communities responded to climate change in the geologically recent past and provides informative analogs for changes occurring in Canada’s north at present.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum’s Speaker Series talks are free and open to the public. They are held every Thursday (and this week, Friday!) until April 27 at 11:00 a.m. in the Museum auditorium.
Dr. Takuya Konishi… to present at Speaker Series