Field Trip to Southeastern Alberta
ERTH 4808 Vertebrate Paleontology Field Camp
The Late Cretaceous sediments of southern Alberta contain one of the most diverse and abundant assemblages of vertebrate fossils anywhere in the world. Historically, many of the most famous dinosaurs (Albertosaurus, Styracosaurus, Lambeosaurus, etc,) were collected from Alberta, and new taxa are still being described from there. The region is also one of the richest oil-producing regions of the world, housing sub-surface reservoirs of oil and natural gas.
This course includes a week-long field component and a semester-long class project. Field work will give students a background in Late Cretaceous sedimentology and dinosaur paleontology, including their biology, evolution, and distribution. Students will participate in on-going research projects, including the excavation of dinosaur bone beds and skeletons, fossil microvertebrate collection and sampling, and prospecting. Students will learn the principles of paleontological field techniques, including the logistics of organizing and running a field camp, excavation and documentation of a quarry (mapping and data collection), running and co-relating sedimentological sections between significant fossil localities, collection and conservation of fossils (including preparation), and depositing the collected fossil material in a recognized government depository.
The field course offers the participating students the opportunity to work side-by-side with research students and scientists as part of the Southern Alberta Dinosaur Project. To date, the project has discovered and described more than 10 new dinosaurs and other vertebrates (e.g., turtles) including the horned-dinosaur, Xenoceratops (2012) and the dome-headed pachycephalosaur, Acrotholus (2013).