2013-2014 Science Planning Summaries
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Late Cretaceous-Paleogene vertebrates from Antarctica: Implications for paleobiogeography, paleoenvironment, and extinction in Polar Gondwana

Program Manager:
Dr. Thomas Wilch

Event Number: G-182-L

ASC POC/Implementer:
Addie Coyac / Cara Ferrier

Dr. Matthew Lamanna (Principal Investigator)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Supporting Stations:  ARSV Laurence M. Gould
Research Locations:  Seymour and Vega Islands

Project Description:
This project will locate and collect vertebrate fossils (primarily those of fish, marine reptiles, non-avian dinosaurs, birds, and mammals) in late Cretaceous through Paleogene deposits on islands in the James Ross Island Group in the Antarctic Peninsula. Material recovered will have implications for understanding the role of the Antarctic Peninsula in the dispersal of vertebrates between West Antarctica and southernmost South America at the end of the Mesozoic and the beginning of the Cenozoic eras. Depending on the specific discoveries made, significant new light may be shed on the evolution, faunal dynamics, and/or paleobiogeography of such important vertebrate groups as non-avian dinosaurs, crown clade birds and therian mammals in the critical interval that brackets the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. Geological (i.e., stratigraphic, sedimentological, geochronological, and taphonomic) and paleobotanical work is also planned to place vertebrate finds into accurate and detailed temporal and paleoenvironmental contexts.

Field Season Overview:
Field team members will sail on the ARSV Laurence M. Gould to field camp sites on the Antactic Peninsula and neighboring islands. Scientific activities will entail exploring for and collecting fossils and geological samples using hand tools (e.g., rock hammers, picks, shovels, sample bags, dry and wet screens). More than halfway through the 2014 season, the LMG will support a series of up to three one-day paleontological and geological reconnaissance visits to other localities within the James Ross Island Group. Time and climatic conditions permitting, all project participants will likely visit Ula Point on northeastern James Ross Island; some team members may also survey False Island Point on southeastern Vega Island and/or Devil Island off the northern shore of Vega. At the conclusion of the field season, any recovered fossils, concentrate (resulting from screening activities), and/or geologic samples will be taken to South America and then shipped to the home institution.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Kerin Claeson
  • Julia Clarke (Co-PI)
  • Zubair Jinnah
  • Matthew Lamanna (PI)
  • Joshua Lively
  • Eric Lund
  • Ross MacPhee (Co-PI)
  • Patrick O'Connor (Co-PI)
  • Steven Salisbury

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