Palaeontology Division Talk

Puzzling the Past Together:  Microfossils and Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction

Speaker: S. Amber Whitebone, MSc Student, University of Calgary

February 21, 2020
Location: Mount Royal University, Room B108

7:30pm: Talk Starts


*CSPG members can register for free and track their CPD hours!

Microsites are locations where fossils from small organisms or smaller elements from larger organisms are concentrated. These types of fossil localities typically form in one of two ways; either by the slow accumulation of sediment over a long period of time in a floodplain environment, or more commonly in deposits of sediment that have been secondarily reworked by fluvial systems. A newly described microfossil locality from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation of southern Alberta (Felber Toodontid Site 2 or FTS-2) is interpreted as an example of a floodplain deposit and yields fossils from over ten taxa including troodontid, tyrannosaurid, and various Ornithopod material. FTS-2 is characterized by its unusual abundance of Anuran material, rare elements from juvenile (potentially fetal) hadrosaurids, and the first reported dinosaur eggshell from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation. Due to the heterogenous nature of microsites they provide a unique opportunity to evaluate prehistoric floral and faunal communities. Given that FTS-2 is a floodplain deposit and does not appear to have been secondarily reworked, we can infer that the flora and fauna found here represent true biological association. This allows for the interpretation of potential paleoecological interactions between organisms. It is interpreted that FTS-2 represents a troodontid nesting site where frogs and small hadrosaurids were potentially preferentially preyed upon. 


Amber Whitebone grew up all over Canada; as the daughter of a Canadian Armed Forces veteran she had the distinct privilege to have seen and lived in nearly every province of the country. She first completed an arts diploma from Red Deer College then moved to the University of Alberta to earn her BSc with a specialization in paleontology (Distinction, First Class). During her time at the University of Alberta, Amber worked with Dr. Alison Murray, Dr. Phil Currie, Dr. Corwin Sullivan, as well as Dr. Greg Funston for multiple honours theses focusing on paleoecology of late Cretaceous southern Alberta, lungfish diversity of Morocco and Egypt, and feeding biomechanics of placoderm fish. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Calgary with Dr. Jason Anderson studying the microstructure morphology of entheses (soft tissue attachment to bone) as a means of informing muscular reconstructions for fossil organisms. 

In addition to the main presentation by Amber Whitebone, Cory Gross will provide a brief presentation.

Northern Arizona: The World's Greatest Science Field Trip
Speaker:  Cory Gross, APS President and Glenbow Museum Educator

Petrified Forest, Meteor Crater, Sunset Crater Volcano, the Grand Canyon, and more... Perhaps no other region on Earth has so rich a concentration of geological, palaeontological, archaeological, and astronomical sites as Northern Arizona. APS President Cory Gross takes you on a virtual tour of his trip through the area in the summer of 2019, including a hike through the depths of the Grand Canyon itself! 

An Alberta native, Cory Gross obtained his BA in Museum in Heritage Studies from the University of Calgary and a graduate degree in theology from Lutheran Theological Seminary - Saskatoon. He currently works as a full-time educator at the Glenbow Museum, part time interpreter at the Calgary Zoo, and does Earth Science-based tours, programs, and consulting through his own company Sandstone Prehistoric Safaris. Cory also serves as the President and Public Outreach coordinator of the Alberta Palaeontological Society.