Upcoming Events
Ornithomimids of Late Cretaceous Alberta
Speaker:  Rachel E. Nottrodt, Ph.D. Student, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Calgary

Location:  Mount Royal University, Room B108
Time:  September 20, 2019, 7:30 pm

*CSPG members can register for free and track their CPD hours!

Ornithomimids, or bird-mimic dinosaurs, are a clade of ostrich-like theropods that are found in Upper Cretaceous sediments of Asia and North America. They are the most abundant non-avian theropods preserved in North American Upper Cretaceous deposits, with Alberta having the greatest number of ornithomimid fossils. Ornithomimids have edentulous beaks and feathers, making them the most basal member of Theropoda to possess both of these characteristic bird traits and therefore an important group to study in order to understand how these features first originated in dinosaurs. The most recent in-depth review of ornithomimid taxonomy placed all Albertan specimens, all of which were found in the Dinosaur Park and Horseshoe Canyon formations, into Ornithomimus edmontonicus and Struthiomimus altus, resulting in the temporal range of O. edmontonicus and S. altus extending nearly ten million years, while other dinosaur species generally range around one million years. Insufficient diagnostic characters, allegedly stemming from the conservative morphology of ornithomimids, has led to this exceptionally long temporal range and has made it difficult for several studies to confidently assign ornithomimid material to either taxa. Recognition of two new taxa, Rativates evadens and Qiupalong sp., from existing specimens from the Dinosaur Park Formation promises the potential to identify new taxa. Furthermore, the recent description of a specimen from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation provides renewed support for the previously synonymized ornithomimid taxon, Dromiceiomimus. Examination of all accessible ornithomimid specimens from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta has revealed diagnostic ornithomimid material from the upper Maastrichtian Scollard Formation for the first time (including the remains of a giant ornithomimid), identified a unique large ornithomimosaur within the Dinosaur Park Formation, and provided a new suite of characters to refine the taxonomic classifications. Overall, these findings seek to improve our understanding of ornithomimids during the Late Cretaceous in Alberta, thereby providing a clearer picture of the species that existed, the relationships among those taxa, and the opportunity going forward to investigate how these individuals fit into the global history of ornithomimosaurs.   

Rachel Nottrodt grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario. She completed her undergraduate education at Brock University in St. Catharines, where she conducted undergraduate research on newt limb regeneration with Dr. Robert Carlone. She completed an M.Sc. in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Cell and Molecular Biology at Brock University with Dr. Carlone, in which she examined the role of cell cycle regulation in newt spinal cord and tail regeneration. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Calgary with Dr. Jessica Theodor and Dr. Alex Dutchak studying the taxonomy and phylogeny of ornithomimids in Alberta. Rachel’s research interests include theropod evolution, structure-function relationships, and evolutionary development biology. 

In addition to the main presentation by Rachael Nottrodt, Clinton Turner will provide a brief presentation.

Between a Bone and a Log:  Exploring the Elements of Permineralization
Speaker:  Clinton Turner, Grade 6 Student and APS Member

The Alberta Badlands in the Cretaceous era, and the Arizona Badlands in the Triassic era, produced amazing fossils in very different environments. My presentation addresses the effect of different environments on how the fossils were permineralized. Using X-ray Fluoresence (XRF) Spectrometry, I analyzed a Cretaceous era hadrosaur bone and a Triassic era log to see if there was a difference in the elements of permineralization between the two specimens. I hypothesized that analyzing the bone and the log would give clues about the environments the fossils were permineralized in, and that the elements found in the specimens would be different because of the different habitats and different time periods. I conducted 11 trials on the bone, and 15 trials on the log, and compared the results. I found that in the bone there were two areas that were crystallized. There was a positive correlation between Silicon (Si), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), and Sulphur (S), and a positive correlation between Calcium (Ca), Phosphorus (P), Strontium (Sr), and Barium (Ba). The correlation between Si, Fe, Mn, and S is opposite to that of Ca, P, Sr, and B. I discovered that the fossilized log is almost 100% silica, and that the XRF spectrometer may not be totally accurate close to the centre of the specimen. There is less Silicon (Si) and higher amount of Fe, Aluminium (Al), and Ca. The hadrosaur bone was buried in sand during decomposition. It was found near the edge of what was the Bearpaw Sea during the Cretaceous era, and the presence of flowing water and wet sand contributed to the permineralization process. During the Triassic era, in what is now the Arizona Badlands, there was a great deal of volcanic activity, and the ash fallout covered the log. Water dissolved the ash, and over time, replaced the original organic matter with almost pure silica. This was proved through XRF spectrometer analysis. More research and analysis is needed to figure out why there is an opposite correlation between Si, Fe, Mn, and S, versus Ca, P, Sr, and Ba.

Clinton Turner is in Grade 6 and is a paleontology enthusiast. He has been a member of the Alberta Paleontological Society (APS) since 2015. His favourite aspects of the APS are the field trips. He also really enjoys fossil hunting with his family in the Alberta Badlands.

Division Profile
The Palaeontology Division runs in association with the Alberta Palaeontological Society (APS) and the Mount Royal College Earth Science Department. Its mandate is to provide a forum for CSPG members and the general public who are interested in palaeontological issues and applications. Topics are wide-ranging and range from technical dissertations on application to the oil industry to general interest such as dinosaur art and palaeontological expeditions. This is to accomodate the diverse group of 30-80 people that typically attend each talk. Unlike most of the other technical divisions the talks are held in the evenings (7:30 PM), typically the third Friday of every month. Facilities and multimedia access are provided by Mount Royal College Earth Science Department. Talks typically average about 45 minutes followed by a short question/discussion period. They are held in Mount Royal College (Lincoln Park Campus) Science Wing room B108 and B101. Speakers for the luncheons are sought from industry, museums, universities and even the art world. Talks run from September through May with a break through the summer. Once a year a two day Palaeontological Symposium is held at Mount Royal College. Events include a full day of lectures, a poster session and educational workshops. Most events are free so as to be accessible to the general public. While these talks are held in association with the APS, that societies' summer field trips require an APS membership.

Committee Members
CSPG Palaeontology Division Chair: Jon Noad at
APS Coordinator: Harold Whittaker at 403-286-0349 or contact