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Biology

Paleontology at Carthage

Carthage students who are interested in paleontology — the study of the history of life on Earth through fossils — have the opportunity to study under a vertebrate paleontologist and get hands-on field experience that is unusual in undergraduate programs.

 

Learn from a leading paleontologist

Dig for dinosaur bones with Carthage in Hell's Creek, Montana, during the summer months. Prof. Thomas Carr leads an annual excavation.Dig for dinosaur bones with Carthage in Hell's Creek, Montana, during the summer months. Prof. Thomas Carr leads an annual excavation.

Paleontology courses at Carthage are taught by Prof. Thomas Carr, assistant professor of biology. Prof. Carr is a vertebrate paleontologist and recognized expert on tyrannosaurid dinosaurs. (Vertebrate paleontology is the study of fossils of animals with backbones.)

Prof. Carr is also the senior scientific advisor for the Dinosaur Discovery Museum in downtown Kenosha, which houses the Carthage Institute of Paleontology. A noted professional speaker on dinosaurs, Prof. Carr has been featured on the National Geographic Channel, in popular publications, and as curator for museum exhibits including the “Feathered Dinosaur” exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Collect the bones of a baby T.rex

The Carthage Institute of Paleontology conducts an annual month-long dinosaur-hunting expedition to southeastern Montana, led by Prof. Carr. Carthage students have the opportunity to locate and collect fossils in the Hell Creek Formation, a unit of rock deposited in Montana and adjacent states at the end of the age of dinosaurs.

So far, Prof. Carr and his crews have located four partial dinosaur skeletons, including a rare juvenile specimen believed to be the smallest T. rex ever found. It is the only active excavation of a baby Tyrannosaurus rex. Bones collected in the expedition are brought back to the Institute of Paleontology, where the fossils are prepared and conserved by Prof. Carr and his student volunteers.

Stephen Hobe (Biology, junior) after a day of studying the skull of Lambeosaurus lambei in the dinosaur gallery of the Field Museum on March 26, 2014.

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