THE “LITTLE DINOSAURS OF GHOST RANCH” 70 YEARS LATER
What an Exceptional Fossil Assemblage
Reveals about Dinosaur Variation and Growth
Daniel E. Barta
Richard Gilder Graduate School and Division of Paleontology,
American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY
Sunday, April 15, 2018 2:00 P.M. Room 319
American Museum of Natural History New York City
In 1947, a field crew from the American Museum of Natural History made an astonishing discovery at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico: a bonebed containing hundreds of specimens of the Triassic carnivorous dinosaur Coelophysis bauri. Thanks to the exceptional quantity and quality of these specimens, research over the past 70 years has divulged much about early dinosaur evolutionary relationships and biology. Yet a more detailed picture of growth and variation within this dinosaur population is just now coming into focus. Daniel’s research seeks to answer two main questions about growth and variation within Ghost Ranch Coelophysis: 1) Can variation in its hand and wrist morphology clarify earlier evolutionary changes that laid the anatomical groundwork for the highly fused and reduced hands and wrists of birds? and 2) were growth patterns in Coelophysis constrained (as in many living birds) or highly individually variable (as in many living non-avian reptiles)? Daniel will discuss his recent findings that help to answer these questions by revealing more about the early evolution of the group of dinosaurs that gave rise to birds.
N.Y.P.S. MEETING DATES FOR THE YEAR
These are the meeting dates of the New York Paleontological Society for the 2017-2018 season. We meet at 2:00 P.M. in room 319 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (79th Street and Central Park West), unless otherwise specified. Our Annual Party will be held at the NYU Tandon (Polytechnic) School of Engineering in Brooklyn, N.Y. Due to changes in the museum’s schedule, the above dates may change (usually very unlikely), so check your Newsletter or the monthly meeting notice on this website.