Undeterred by rain, about 65 people attended Live from Antarctica! to ask a paleontologist on the southernmost continent questions about his search for fossils.
Using Skype and a large, high-definition digital screen, Dr. Matt Lamanna, Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s principal dinosaur researcher, answered questions from museum director, Dr. Eric Dorfman, and members of the audience on March 10 during the free community event at Forbes Digital Square in Oakland.
Along with a team of experts, Dr. LaManna is searching for fossils on the Antarctica Peninsula. He Skyped in from aboard the research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer to talk about his work to answer questions about Antarctic weather, live animals he’s seen, fossils his team has found, and what he will bring back to our museum here in Pittsburgh.
Its summer in Antarctica, but Dr. Lamanna said weather has still been challenging with occasional snow, rain and fog. Interestingly, some of the fossils his expeditions have found have been of leaves, which he said indicate that the coldest continent was once covered in forests, much like Western Pennsylvania.
“It’s a great example of how environments can change over time,” Dr. Lamanna said. Because days and nights that far south are extended and shortened the changing seasons, he said there’s no contemporary equivalent of the ancient environment that existed there as the age of the dinosaurs ended.
“We’re unearthing an ancient ecosystem and bringing that ecosystem back to Pittsburgh,” he said.
Other fossils found include clams, fish, and even dinosaur bones. Dr. Lamanna said they’ll carefully pack and ship an estimated three to four tons of fossils back to Pittsburgh.
Visitors will be able to view many of the new specimens in the museum’s PaleoLab this summer.
Many thanks to Oakland Business Improvement District for helping put on the event, the Taylor Allderdice High School jazz band for a great performance, and Dunkin’ Donuts for passing out dino donuts.
Dr. Lamanna’s expedition ends next week, but you can see photos of his work, wildlife he’s seen and the stunning landscape of Antarctica by following the Carnegie Museum of Natural History on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook .