Continued research on Mesozoic vertebrates of the Beardmore Glacier region AntarcticaEntry ID: Vertebrate_Paleontology_Beardmore_Glacier
Abstract: The first year of this grant funded a field party of six to search sites in the Beardmore Glacier region of Antarctica for fossil vertebrates, especially dinosaurs. The party of six included two senior scientists, a field research assistant, a mountaineer, a graduate student writing a thesis on on the evolution of theropod dinosaurs, and a school teacher selected to be in the TEA program ... sponsored by NSF. The subsequent years of this grant involved the preparation and study of the new dinosaur material. Several publications have resulted from this project (see publications section) and the PI has given numerous lectures at both academic institutions and public events on this research. In March of 05 the PI, along with the TEA teacher involved in the project, led a teachers workshop in New York.
Since work began on the Jurassic dinosaurs collected during the first year of this grant bones belonging to a dinosaur new to Antarctica have been prepared and identified. The elements include ribs, parts of the pelvis (ilium mainly)and vertebral column of a large true sauropod dinosaur. The sacral vertebrae are particularly well preserved and much larger than any sauropod of similar age (Early Jurassic). This specimen may represent the largest and perhaps the oldest (it is at least one of the three oldest)known sauropods from anywhere in the world. While identification and description of of the elements prepared has taken place this year, additional elements need to be prepared before a manuscript can be finished for publication. In addition preparation of new material belonging to the Antarctic theropod Cryolophosaurus has been finished. A mongraph on this animal has recently been accepted for publication by the Linnean Society. In addition a manuscript on the P-T Boundary the PI has been collaborating on was completed during this grant period and appeared in the May 06 issue of GSA Bulletin. Also, a paper describing a tritylodont from the Jurassic will be published in the fall issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, a paper naming a new prosauropod from Antarctica has been submitted to Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, two short papers have been accepted for the Tenth International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences and a paper describing a new temnospondyl has been submitted to the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (see publications section). Since the bones are very large and in very dense, silicified matrix it will still take approximately two more years for all of the bones collected in 03 to be finished.
This research project is still in progress since some of the fossils collected are still being prepared and studied. However, to date this research so far has identified a large sauropod dinosaur new to Antarctica that appears to be related to Rojosaurus from Argentina, but likely represents a new genus/speices. It represents one of the oldest known true sauropod from anywhere in the world and hence it could lead us to a better understanding of sauropod evolution. Our monograph on Cryolophosaur has identifed this theropod as the most basal, primitve tetanuran theropod in the world. Also, this project has identified and described a new prosauropod from the Jurassic of Antarctica, Glacialsaurus, a new temnospondyl from the Triassic, Kryostega, and a bienotheroides clade tritylodont. All of these new taxa add to our understanding of the evolutionary history of their respective groups and further our understanding of the paleoenvironment of Mesozoic Antarctica. Any as yet unidentifed new vertebrates of this age from Antarctica will be significant to the science of paleontology, since not only are Antarctic fossils rare, worldwide Early Jurassic faunas are also relatively rare
This project has been and will continue to be a valuable educational experience for a graduate student and a school teacher in the TEA program. It is presents educational opportunities to the general public through lectures on and displays of the fossil material and through our new project website at http://www.antarcticvp.com
The 2005 TEA workshop results are available for distribution to educators and information about the project is also available on our website at http://www.antarcticvp.com Casts of the fossil material are on display at numerous museums worldwide and the actual skull of Cryolophosaurus is part of the new dinosaur exhibit at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
Paleo Temporal Coverage
For a list of recent publications, see http://www.antarcticvp.com/pubs.html
Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2007-08-07
Last DIF Revision Date: 2010-07-02