The Royal Tyrrell Museum’s speaker series continues this week with Dr. Donald Henderson, focusing on ancient marine reptiles in Western Canada.
The Tyrrell is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2010, and this winter, the Speaker Series is dedicated to “25 years of discovery: highlights of paleontological research at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.”
On Thursday, January 28, Dr. Donald Henderson from the Royal Tyrrell Museum will present a lecture entitled “Ichthyosaurs and orogenies: Finding ancient marine reptiles in the mountains of western Canada”.
There is much more to the fossil record of ancient reptiles than just dinosaurs, and the mountains of western Canada provide good evidence for this. A happy coincidence of geography and climate during the Triassic Period, in combination with geological processes over the past 250 million years, has revealed a diversity of ichthyosaurs (“fish-reptiles”) from this part of the world. These fully aquatic reptiles ranged in body size from a 1m Grippia to the largest known marine reptile – the 23m Shonisaurus.
This talk will look at the geological history of the west coast of North America, and why it is important for fossil discoveries, and review the evolution and biology of the ichthyosaurs and their close relatives that once inhabited this part of the world.
Dr. Henderson has been Curator of Dinosaurs at the Tyrrell since 2006, but his interests include more than just dinosaurs. He first worked at the Museum as a student during the summers of 1994 and 1995, and during those summers he participated in two expeditions to the mountains of northeastern British Columbia to look for marine reptiles from the Triassic Period.
For the past three years he has participated in further expeditions to other remote mountainous regions of BC and Alberta searching for marine reptiles from both the Triassic and Cretaceous periods.
The Speakers Series lectures will be on Thursdays, from 11 am – noon at the Royal Tyrrell Museum auditorium. These presentations are free.