Learn more about dinosaurs, palaeontology, the world around us, and many other fascinating topics straight from the experts with our monthly lecture series! Upcoming speakers are listed with their topic and lecture description below.
University of Alberta Laboratory for Vertebrate Palaeontology
Preparing Fossils: Challenges from Grande Prairie
Saturday, February 22, 2020 • 3:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreA lecture followed by a behind-the-scenes tour. Fossil preparation is an integral component of the science of palaeontology. Simple in principle, it can take great patience and skill to transform a lump of plaster and stone into a beautiful specimen ready for research, display, and education. Dedicated and systematic prospecting in the area has begun to yield some exciting results. Learn about some of the fun and fossils coming out of the Boreal Alberta Dinosaur Project, an international group of palaeontologists and geologists working with the help of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum and the Grande Prairie Regional College. Understand how preparation work ongoing at the University of Alberta on fossils from the Grande Prairie region is increasing our knowledge of the ancient ecosystems which used to thrive in the area. At 4:00pm, immediately following the lecture, stick around for a behind-the-scenes tour of the preparation lab at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum.
Derek Larson and Nicholas Carter
Assistant Curator and Education Coordinator, Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum
A Guide to Dinosaurs: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
Saturday, January 25, 2020 • 3:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreA two part lecture and FAQ. The Boreal Alberta Dinosaur Project had a busy if wet summer in 2019. Come learn about the newest dinosaur finds in this corner of Alberta. Then, museum educator Nicholas Carter will answer some of the most common questions that many folks have about these often-misunderstood animals. You’ll get up to date on the latest in dinosaur knowledge and the opportunity to ask your own burning questions to our local experts!
Fossil Preparation Technician, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai: The ugly truth
Saturday, November 30, 2019 • 3:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreThe talk will cover the history of discovery and excavation of the Pipestone Creek bonebed, the context of Grande Prairie pachyrhinosaur bonebeds to others across western North America and what has been learned from the Pipestone Creek site and important implications of those finding on our understanding of ceratopsian growth changes, individual variation, speciation, evolution, and behavior.Photograph by Kerri Kamra.
Alberta Conservation Association Senior Biologist
Creepy Crawlies: Get To Know The Amphibians And Reptiles Of The Grande Prairie Area
Saturday, October 26, 2019 • 3:00pm • Al Lakusta Day Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreJoin Kris Kendell, biologist with Alberta Conservation Association, for an informative presentation about the amphibians and reptiles of the Grande Prairie area. During the presentation you will increase your knowledge of the many unique adaptations and fascinating behaviours of these highly successful animals. You will also learn about the greatest threats to their survival as well as actions you can take in your backyard, or on your land, that can benefit amphibians and reptiles, as well as other wildlife.Photograph by Amanda Rezansoff.
Dr. Emily L. Bamforth
Palaeontologist, Vertebrate Palaeontology Program, Royal Saskatchewan Museum
Valleys of Hidden Secrets: Saskatchewan as a Canadian Paleontology Frontier
Saturday, September 21, 2019 • 3:00pm Aykroyd Family TheatreIn 1874, geologist George Mercer Dawson discovered Canada’s first dinosaur fossil in what is now Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan. Despite the province’s long paleontological history, its fossil resources – including T. rex, Triceratops, marine reptiles and Cenozoic mammal fossils – are far less well known than Alberta’s. With the 1991 discovery of ‘Scotty’, the world’s largest T. rex, the sleeping giant of Saskatchewan’s paleontological significance in Canada has begun to stir. Come and discovery why Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s next fossil frontiers.
Dr. Nicolas Campione
Palaeontologist, Vertebrate Palaeontology Program, Royal Saskatchewan Museum
Feathers or no Feathers
Saturday, August 3, 2019 • 3:00pm Aykroyd Family TheatreThe discovery that some dinosaurs possessed feathers was a breakthrough in our understanding of the origin of birds and the evolution of flight. Following these initial discoveries in the 90s, a wide range of dinosaurs, especially theropods (the meat-eating dinosaurs), are now known to have possessed feathers. Even some non-theropod dinosaurs, on the ornithischian side of the dinosaur evolutionary tree exhibit structures that some have identified as feathers. These discoveries beg the questions: when did feathers first evolve? Were they present in the ancestor of all dinosaurs? My talk will walk through our history on dinosaur research and explain how our ideas about what a dinosaur looks like has changed. We will explore the evolution of feathers and discuss the probability that the original dinosaurs was feathered.
Dr. Corwin Sullivan
Philip J. Currie Professor of Paleontology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta & Curator, Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum
Cretaceous North: Exploring the Lost Dinosaurian World of the Peace Region
Saturday, JuLY 27, 2019 • 3:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreThe Boreal Alberta Dinosaur Project (BADP) is an international collaboration among palaeontologists interested in the dinosaurs and other Cretaceous vertebrates of northern Alberta, and particularly of the Wapiti Formation in the vicinity of Grande Prairie. On July 27, Corwin will take a break from this year’s BADP field season to share some of the project’s latest findings, including rich deposits of duckbill dinosaur bones and some tantalizing evidence that the Cretaceous fauna of the Peace Region was substantially different from its counterparts in southern Alberta and the western United States.Photographed by John Ulan
BIOLOGIST – ACA MANAGER
MONITORING THE BULL TROUT SPAWNING RUN IN LYNX CREEK
Saturday, June 22, 2019 • 3:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreThis ACA sponsored lecture will include project highlights that define spawning areas, determine spawning frequency and fidelity, as well as highlight the conservation importance of Lynx Creek.A born and raised Albertan, Paul has been personally and professionally immersed in fisheries since the age of 18. After spending 7 summers guiding fishermen across the Arctic, he obtained his formal education and embarked on a wonderful career with fisheries. Paul’s very rewarding career has taken him to many wonderful places across western Canada but Alberta has always been his true passion. For the past 23 years Paul has worked at Alberta Conservation Association as a fish biologist and more recently, a manager for all ACA operations in Northwestern Alberta.
Dr. Ryan McKellar
Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology, Royal Saskatchewan Museum
When amber and dinosaurs meet: Amber from dinosaur bonebeds, and dinosaur remains preserved in amber
Saturday, May 11, 2019 • 8:00pm Grande Prairie Regional College, Room L106Join us for a lecture featured during the Canadian Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology Annual Meeting.Amber was first reported from a dinosaur bonebed in 2004, as part of work on the Pipestone Creek Pachyrhinosaurus bonebed, near Wembley, AB. Since this initial report, amber research has overlapped with dinosaur palaeontology in two different ways: (1) examining tiny pieces of amber from dinosaur bonebeds, (2) searching for inclusions of dinosaurs within larger amber pieces. The first major line of enquiry has been used extensively in western Canada to examine dinosaur bonebeds and the surrounding strata. By examining the chemical and geochemical characteristics of fossil plant resin, and searching for tiny inclusions within these amber samples, it has been possible to identify the resin-producing trees in the habitats surrounding bonebeds. This work also sheds some light on ecological conditions in ancient forests (e.g., precipitation patterns, and sources of plant stress). When amber is relatively abundant, a moderate diversity of insects and plant fragments provide further ecological clues and new species for palaeoentomology. The second major line of research has focused on rare inclusions of vertebrates within amber, based on deposits that produce larger, gem-quality amber pieces, such as mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber. Advancements in this line of research over the last five years have included the discovery of multiple enantiornithines (primitive toothed birds), a coelurosaur (non-avian theropod) tail fragment, numerous feather specimens, and a wider range of vertebrates, including snakes, lizards, and amphibians. These specimens have been biased toward smaller taxa and juvenile individuals, but preservation is unmatched elsewhere in the fossil record. The amber inclusions preserve microscopic details of soft tissues in three-dimensions, along with traces of original colour patterns and chemistry, faunal associations, and frozen behaviours. Ultimately, amber inclusions have confirmed many of the inferences drawn from fossils preserved in other settings. They have also refined our understanding of feather evolution, palaeobiogeography, and habitat use in the Cretaceous. Amber is becoming an increasingly valuable supplement to vertebrate palaeontology.
Special Event – Andrew Manske
Director | Producer | Cinematographer
WOLVERINE: GHOST OF THE NORTHERN FOREST
Saturday, April 13, 2019 • 1:00pm & 3:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreWolverine: Ghost of the Northern Forest (52min) recounts the fascinating story of Canadian wildlife filmmaker Andrew Manske’s relentless, five-year quest to find and film one of the most legendary and elusive creatures on the planet. The wolverine is a small animal with a big reputation. It might weigh less than 20 kilograms, but this intrepid member of the weasel family has been known to back down marauding grizzly bears and wolves in defence of its young or its food. Armed with fearsome claws and canines, a bite force stronger than any other carnivore on earth and a reputation for fearlessness, the wolverine, whose Latin name Gulo gulo literally means glutton, is not the kind of animal any other animal, humans included, really wants to mess with.But nasty reputation aside, the reality is we really don’t know much about the secretive world and life of the wolverine. Living in remote areas of the Rocky Mountains and the boreal forest, it is rarely ever seen. After two decades of filming most of the other major predators of the north, award-winning cinematographer Andrew Manske takes up the ultimate challenge of his career when he set out to make a film about this animal. For tickets to this unique experience click here!
WILDLIFE OF SASKATOON ISLAND PROVINCIAL PARK
Saturday, March 23, 2019 • 3:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreRick Scott will share two of his passions, nature and photography. He will present his photos taken in and around Saskatoon Island Provincial Park. The park is one of Alberta’s first Provincial Parks and is an important migratory staging area for birds. The park is part of the Grande Prairie area IBA (Important Bird Area) and is a great place for birding and nature walks and the lake is a pleasant place to canoe and take photos.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – GRUVPIX INC.
BONE HUNTERS: SEARCHING THE PEACE REGION FOR CLUES FROM OUR PAST
Saturday, February 23, 2019 • 2:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreBone Hunters is a documentary that follows a small group of palaeontologists as they navigate treacherous terrain in Northern Alberta, on the small chance they might make the next big prehistoric discovery. Join Executive Producer Ryan Northcott and palaeontologists featured in the documentary for a Q&A session after the film screening. Limited seating available for this free event. Book your spot with Visitor Services by calling 587-771-0662 today!
PRODUCER – CINEMATOGRAPHER
VIEW FROM THE BLIND
Saturday, January 26, 2019 • 3:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreJoin acclaimed cinematographer Andrew Manske, for an evening of film, stories, and photos…chronicling a lifetime of observations from his camera blind. While enduring the isolation of his blind Andrew came to appreciate the ubiquity and beauty of the bird world and began to observe and document the hidden world of birds. Join us as Andrew shares his experiences, and spectacular film images, from the bird kingdom; showcasing everything from the diminutive Humming Bird to the regal Blue Heron. Come and share a side of nature that few are privileged to observe. Join us after for a light reception sponsored by ACA! Limited seating available for this free event. Book your spot with Visitor Services by calling 587-771-0662 today!
A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE: EXPLORING ALBERTA’S QUATERNARY ENVIRONMENTS
Saturday, NOVEMBER 24, 2018 • 3:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreThe Province of Alberta is world famous for its rich fossiliferous content. However, the Ice Age fossils and environments are often overlooked, and dismissed as “overburden”. The extensive Quaternary sands and Gravels across Alberta tell fascinating stories about extinct species and their interactions with early humans. Recovering and preserving fossil resources from this time period has become increasingly significant to our understanding of the transitional environments from melting glaciers to modern river systems.
Saturday, September 29, 2018 • 3:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreJohn Neville describes the Dawn Chorus of birds illustrated with his recordings and Heather Neville’s slides. You will hear many of the beautiful bird sounds that humans enjoy from around the world. John will also discuss some of the meanings and purpose of the Dawn Chorus for the birds. This talk was first given for the Vancouver International Bird Festival and the IOC International Ornithological Congress Aug 2018.
University of Alberta
What Species is that Feces?
Saturday, August 11, 2018 • 4:00pm Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreWhat is a coprolite? What can coprolites tell us about the animals that made them? What can coprolites tell us about the environment that these animals lived in? What is the future of coprolite research? Learn all about coprolite as the University of Alberta’s Clive Coy discusses what it can teach us about prehistoric environments and animals.
DR. MATT WHITE
University of New England
Digging for Dinosaurs in Australia
From the surf to the Outback
Saturday, July 28, 2018 • 4:00pm • Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreThe southern cost of Australia (Flat Rocks/Dinosaur Cove/Otway Ranges), Lightning Ridge (Central NSW), and Winton (Central Queensland) – with current environments ranging from beach, bush, and Outback savannah – each have their own unique array of difficulties in extracting dinosaur bone for scientific study. Learn about dinosaur hunting in Australia, plus a look 3D digital dissection of fossils from rocks and how it could revolutionize dinosaur bone preparation and preservation.
DR. RYAN MCKELLAR
Royal Saskatchewan Museum
Dinosaur and bird remains preserved in Cretaceous amber, and amber from the Pipestone Creek dinosaur bonebed
Saturday, June 23, 2018 • 4:00pm • Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreOver the last seven years, our understanding of feathers in amber has grown through discoveries in Canadian Cretaceous amber, and more recently, feathers attached to skeletal material in Cretaceous amber from Burma (Myanmar). We are rapidly learning which types of feathers belonged to particular groups of organisms. Most of these details have come from snapshots of ancient forests that were preserved in amber near the middle and end of the Cretaceous period. As part of this talk, we will explore the recent discoveries from Burmese amber, and what we hope to learn from these specimens. We will also describe some of the discoveries from amber found in the Pipestone Creek dinosaur bonebed, and how these deposits can provide new information on ancient ecosystems and the evolution of feathers.
University of Alberta
What Else Could it Be?
A brief history of ‘whoopsies’ in palaeontology and biology, and how they were corrected
Saturday, May 26, 2018 • 3:00pm • Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreScience may not be perfect, but neither is a lot of the evidence that scientists have to work with. In other words, it is often very difficult to figure out what exactly we are looking at. Here, John Acorn shares stories of famous misidentifications, of everything from fossils to lumps, and birds to stumps. Fortunately, for each category of human perceptual failing, there is also a means by which science corrects its own mistakes, and moves on with both humility and greater understanding.In addition for those interested, join John for a nature walk at Saskatoon Island Provincial Park from 11:00am.
DR. VICTORIA ARBOUR
Royal Ontario Museum
Zuul, the Destroyer of Shins
A New Armoured Dinosaur from Montana
Saturday, April 21, 2018 • 3:00pm • Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreZuul crurivastator is an exciting new dinosaur described by Royal Ontario Museum palaeontologists in 2017. Based on a nearly complete and incredibly well preserved skeleton, Zuul gets its name from one of the monstrous creatures in the 1984 film Ghostbusters, and from its wicked, shin-destroying tail club. ROM palaeontologist Victoria Arbour will talk about the latest research on this amazing ankylosaur fossil.
DR. COREY SCOBIE
Royal Alberta Museum
Influence of human development on burrowing owl habitat selection and reproductive success
Saturday, February 24, 2018 • 3:00pm • Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreThe Canadian prairies have changed dramatically since European settlement. Over two thirds has been converted to cropland and more recently, petroleum development has introduced an extensive network of infrastructure (roads, well heads, etc.) and sensory disturbances (sound and light) to the landscape. It is thought that the decline of the Burrowing Owl is linked to these changes to the prairie landscape, but no single cause has yet been shown to be the culprit. I will summarize the results of my doctoral research where I tried to understand the relationship between this endangered owl and the landscape in which it lives. I will show the choices Burrowing Owls make when they arrive in the spring and decide what type of landscape in which to nest. This is important because they are stuck with the resources (food, perches, etc.) and predators that surround their nest while they try to raise a nest of owlets. I will also give a peak into the nocturnal lives of burrowing owls by showing where they spend their time at night. When the eggs hatch and there are many mouths to feed, they must make good choices about where to hunt in order to bring enough food back to the nest. Overall, I will explore how changes to the grasslands affect where they choose to nest and hunt and how these choices then affect their success in raising a brood of owlets.
Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum
Living Dinosaurs of the Peace Region
Saturday, January 20, 2018 • 3:00pm • Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Aykroyd Family TheatreThe Grande Prairie area is designated as one of Canada’s many important bird areas, and is rich in a variety of birdlife. Many charismatic species which are uncommon or rare in other parts of the province continue to thrive here, such as trumpeter swans and bald eagles. As the last living dinosaurs, birds hold a special interest to both palaeontologists and naturalists in general. The Peace Region is, deservedly, becoming more and more well known as a rich trove of dinosaur fossils, and the birdlife of the region represents a continuation of the dinosaur legacy that survives here to this day. Anyone interested in natural history will benefit from knowing and understanding the diversity of our living dinosaurs.
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