PALAEONTOLOGY DIVISION

Events are jointly presented by the Alberta Palaeontological Society, Mount Royal University and the CSPG Palaeontology Division. For details, to join our mailing list, or to present a talk at a future Palentology Division event please contact Division Chair, Jon Noad at (403) 513-7541 or programs1@albertapaleo.org. Visit the APS website for confirmation of event times and upcoming speakers: http://www.albertapaleo.org/.

Division Profile

The Palaeontology Division runs in association with the Alberta Palaeontological Society (APS) and the Mount Royal College Earth Science Department. Its mandate is to provide a forum for CSPG members and the general public who are interested in palaeontological issues and applications. Topics are wide-ranging and range from technical dissertations on application to the oil industry to general interest such as dinosaur art and palaeontological expeditions. This is to accomodate the diverse group of 30-80 people that typically attend each talk. Unlike most of the other technical divisions the talks are held in the evenings (7:30 PM), typically the third Friday of every month. Facilities and multimedia access are provided by Mount Royal College Earth Science Department. Talks typically average about 45 minutes followed by a short question/discussion period. They are held in Mount Royal College (Lincoln Park Campus) Science Wing room B108 and B101. Speakers for the luncheons are sought from industry, museums, universities and even the art world. Talks run from September through May with a break through the summer. Once a year a two day Palaeontological Symposium is held at Mount Royal College. Events include a full day of lectures, a poster session and educational workshops. Most events are free so as to be accessible to the general public. While these talks are held in association with the APS, that societies' summer field trips require an APS membership.

Upcoming Events

MAIN PRESENTATION

A Paleozoic Origins of Modern Amphibians

Jason D. Pardo, Ph. D. Candidate, Department of Comparative Biology and Experimental Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta

LOCATION:  Mount Royal University, Room B108
TIME:  October 20, 2017, 7:30 pm

ABSTRACT 
Modern amphibian diversity belongs to three major lineages: frogs (Anura), salamanders (Caudata), and caecilians (Gymnophiona). Each lineage is extremely distinct, with very few features that unite the three groups. The earliest definitive members of each lineage are Mesozoic in age, but generally already exhibit an overall body plan consistent with that seen in modern members of each group. Because the earliest members of each lineage are already highly derived, placing modern amphibians into the diversity of Paleozoic tetrapods has traditionally proven a difficult task. Three possibilities have been suggested: that all amphibians evolved from a large semiaquatic ancestors (temnospondyl hypothesis), that all amphibians evolved from small elongate-bodied ancestors (lepospondyl hypothesis), or that some amphibians evolved from temnospondyls whereas others evolved from lepospondyls (amphibian polyphyly). In recent years, a flurry of papers have examined the New approaches, especially use of microscopic computed tomography (µCT), have provided new ways of looking at this problem, with some surprising results. New data strongly reject the lepospondyl hypothesis and suggest that tetrapod and amphibian origins both involved a number of important evolutionary novelties. Furthermore, these data call into question whether ‘lepospondyls’ are a natural group at all. At least one group of lepospondyl, the serpentine aïstopods, appear to be extremely basal tetrapods from within the Devonian fin-to-limb transition, suggesting that the earliest tetrapods may have been more diverse than previously thought. Finally, new temnospondyl fossils from the Triassic are showing that there may be more than one viable ‘temnospondyl hypothesis,’ suggesting that the search for amphibian origins has not yet finished.

BIOGRAPHY

Jason Pardo grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he conducted undergraduate research in developmental genetics of fish with Dr. David Stock and paleontology with Bryan Small and Dr. Dena Smith. He completed a M.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with Dr. Jason Anderson at the University of Calgary in 2014, in which he used micro-CT to investigate skull anatomy and relationships of a group of early tetrapods, the lysorophians. He is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Calgary studying the developmental biology of tooth regeneration in salamanders. His research interests include Late Palaeozoic vertebrate evolution, origins of modern amphibians, and development of the vertebrate head.

In addition to the main presentation by Jason Pardo, Daegan Kovacs will provide a brief presentation.

Memories of Montana – Photos from Bozeman


Daegan Kovacs, grade 10 student, Homeschooled, Calgary, Alberta

LOCATION:  Mount Royal University, Room B108
TIME:  October 20, 2017, 7:30 pm

ABSTRACT 
The year was 2015, the month was July, and with my mom and brother we went to Bozeman in Montana. Why? Because I’ve wanted to go to Montana State University's Museum of the Rockies ever since I was a little kid. Montana's geology is similar to Alberta's, except Montana has more Early Cretaceous and Eocene rock. and in the far south some rocks that date back to the Late Jurassic. I went there for a Paleontology camp where I slept under the Tyrannosaurus display, went to a Jurassic dig site where they were excavating a Diplodocus and a Stegosaurus, and met none other than Jack Horner! Inside the Museum they had many interesting displays such as a display showing a Deinonychus attacking a Tenontosaurus, T rex and Triceratops growth series, and a diorama showing the burrowing dinosaur Oryctodromeus. We also visited the Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine near Helena, which is the capital of Montana, where we found both sapphires and fossils.

BIOGRAPHY
Daegan is a homeschool student who is going into grade 10 and aims to become a Palaeontologist. He has been a member of the APS for 4 years now and wants to continue to be a member far into the future. This presentation is part of his curricula for high school credit in Special Projects 20: Paleontology. He is an avid microfossil sorter, is also very interested in entomology, and has several pets including a bearded dragon.


DIVISION INFORMATION
This event is presented jointly by the Alberta Palaeontological Society, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University, and the Palaeontology Division of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists. For details or to present a talk in the future, please contact CSPG Palaeontology Division Chair Jon Noad at jonnoad@hotmail.com or APS Coordinator Harold Whittaker at 403-286-0349 or contact programs1@albertapaleo.org. Visit the APS website for confirmation of event times and upcoming speakers: http://www.albertapaleo.org/