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Moriarty Science Seminar: The mysterious megaraptorids: giant-clawed meat-eating dinosaurs from the southern continents
February 28, 2022, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
R.W. Moriarty Science Seminar Presents: The mysterious megaraptorids: giant-clawed meat-eating dinosaurs from the southern continents
Speakers: Matt Lamanna, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Abstract: Over the past quarter-century, paleontological field explorations in landmasses that once comprised the Southern Hemisphere supercontinent of Gondwana have yielded fossil finds representing a host of new and unusual dinosaurs. Among the most extraordinary of these are Megaraptoridae, an enigmatic group of large-bodied, Cretaceous-aged (~125–66 million-year-old) theropods (generally predatory dinosaurs) characterized by low and elongate skulls, proportionally small but sharp teeth, extensively air-filled bones, and, most strikingly, powerfully built forelimbs tipped with enormous claws on the innermost two digits. In this R.W. Moriarty Science Seminar, Dr. Lamanna will present several of he and his Argentine collaborators’ recent megaraptorid discoveries and their implications for scientific understanding of the anatomy, phylogenetic relationships, and paleoecology of these mysterious Cretaceous carnivores. Among these finds are two exceptionally preserved skeletons that cast significant new light on megaraptorid morphology and evolutionary history, strengthening the hypothesis that these animals are Gondwanan cousins of tyrannosaurids, the theropod group that includes the notorious Tyrannosaurus rex.
Bio: Matt Lamanna is the Mary R. Dawson Associate Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology and the principal dinosaur researcher at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Born and raised in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, he received his B.Sc. from Hobart College in 1997 and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 and 2004, respectively. Within the past 25 years, he has directed or co-directed field expeditions to Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, China, Croatia, Egypt, and Greenland that have resulted in the discovery of numerous new species of dinosaurs and other fossil animals from the Cretaceous Period, the third and final time period of the Age of Dinosaurs; indeed, he is one of only a handful of paleontologists to have found dinosaur fossils on all seven continents. Lamanna served as chief scientific advisor to Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s $36M Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibition and has appeared on television programs for PBS (NOVA), the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, A&E, the Science Channel, and more.