UCL Earth Sciences


Robert Mansergh

“A new perspective on ornithischian dinosaur evolution and biogeography”

PhD project title:

Dinosaur Biogeography and the Implications of Fossil Record Bias.

Robert Mansergh
  Project description:

The non-marine formations of the upper Cretaceous of the western interior basin of North America are highly fossiliferous and contain the most extensively sampled vertebrate fossil assemblages. This abundance contextualised in a high-resolution stratigraphic framework has allowed the characterisation of distinct dinosaur faunas and the biostratigraphic distribution of dinosaur taxa.

For studies focused on dinosaur biogeography, these biostratigraphic patterns are key to understanding the selective pressures influencing the spatial evolution of dinosaur taxa and faunal turnover in these dinosaur assemblages. During the upper Cretaceous, standing crops of large-bodied ornithischian dinosaurs would dominate the vertebrate fossil assemblages of numerous non-marine formations of the western interior basin of North America.

This study aims to test existing hypotheses concerning ornithischian dinosaur biogeography, multiple phylogenetic-based biogeographic methods will be utilised to identify areas where poor sampling of the fossil record biases our understanding of dinosaur biodiversity and faunal turnover.