Speaker Series 2018: Palaeontology of the Cretaceous Chalk

Chalk seas covered much of the Late Cretaceous world. The White Cliffs of Dover in the United Kingdom are one of the world’s most recognizable remnants of these oceans. Chalk is composed primarily of tiny coccolithophores, tiny circular discs formed as plankton that disintegrated after death. After they died, coccolithophores settled on the floor of … Continue reading Speaker Series 2018: Palaeontology of the Cretaceous Chalk

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Speaker Series 2018: Eocene Vertebrate Fauna and Flora in Canada’s High Arctic

Eocene sediments for the Eureka Sound Group in Canada’s Arctic Archipelago preserve evidence of lush rain forests. The Eocene Epoch, 56 - 33.9 million years , was characterized by the rapid diversification of mammals. Alligators, turtles, birds and a large diversity of mammals, including early primates, tapirs, and hippo-like Coryphodon, inhabited the rain forests of … Continue reading Speaker Series 2018: Eocene Vertebrate Fauna and Flora in Canada’s High Arctic

Speaker Series 2018: Late Ice Age Mammals on Vancouver Island

As the last retreated 14,000 years ago, three giant mammal species—bison, ground sloth and short-faced bear—colonized Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands. Megafauna (large or giant animals) fossils from the islands are rare due to acidic soils, but survive in pond deposits buffered by lime from underlying marine shells. Megafauna thrived south of the … Continue reading Speaker Series 2018: Late Ice Age Mammals on Vancouver Island

Speaker Series 2018: Evolutionary Experiments in the Early Tetrapod Form

The early origins of amphibians (frogs, salamanders, and caecilians) are not well understood. This is due to their rarity in the early fossil record, as well as incomplete scientific understanding of four-legged vertebrate (tetrapod) evolution and the anatomy of possible amphibian relatives. Newly discovered fossils from the Triassic Period give us insights into the origins … Continue reading Speaker Series 2018: Evolutionary Experiments in the Early Tetrapod Form