Fos­sils in caves topic of Speaker Series

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Sub­mit­ted The Drumheller Mail

The April 19 ses­sion of the 2018 Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum of Palaeon­tol­ogy’s Speaker Series is a pre­sen­ta­tion by Dr. Chris Jass, Royal Al­berta Mu­seum, en­ti­tled, “Dig­ging in the Dark.”

Caves of Western North Amer­ica pre­serve im­por­tant fos­sil de­posits that pro­vide in­sight into bi­o­log­i­cal changes that oc­curred dur­ing the last ice age. Fos­sil­if­er­ous cave de­posits of­ten con­tain large num­bers of spec­i­mens, and some­times pre­serve rare or un­com­mon spec­i­mens (e.g., soft tis­sue, dung). They also pro­vide an im­por­tant per­spec­tive on life at higher el­e­va­tions.

In Nevada, cave de­pos- its sug­gest the per­sis­tence of mam­mals in long-term un­favourable con­di­tions in moun­tain­ous ar­eas. In Al­berta, re­search on cave de­posits is re­veal­ing the tim­ing of the re­turn of mam­malian life to the Rocky Moun­tains fol­low­ing the re­ces­sion of glacial ice. In South Dakota, cave de­posits re­veal sig­nif­i­cant changes in the bio­geo­graphic dis­tri­bu­tion of mam­mals dur­ing later por­tions of the last ice age.

Dr. Chris Jass’ pre­sen­ta­tion will take you on a 20-year tour of ice age cave de­posits in Western North Amer­ica, and will dis­cuss re­search projects as­so­ci­ated with sites in Ari­zona, Nevada, South Dakota, and Al­berta. He will also ex­am­ine some of the unique chal­lenges en­coun­tered while con­duct­ing field­work in caves.

The Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum’s Speaker Series talks are free and open to the pub­lic. The series is held ev­ery Thurs­day un­til April 26 at 11:00 a.m. in the Mu­seum au­di­to­rium. Speaker Series talks are also avail­able on the Mu­seum’s YouTube chan­nel: youtube. com/ c/ Roy­alTyrrel­lMu­se­u­mofPalaeon­tol­ogy.

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