Foster on fossils: MIC announces July/August speakers

The Moab Information Center at the corner of Center and Main, in concert with the Canyonlands Natural History Association and Museum of Moab, have announced speakers for the months of July and August. Events are held on Thursdays at 6 p.m.

July 26 – ReBecca Foster – “Early Cretaceous Fossils from Moab and Their Dispersal From Europe.”

While it is generally thought that the ancient landmass of Pangaea was completely broken apart by the end of the Jurassic Period (~145 million years ago), paleontologists have recently discovered animals, such as the sauropod dinosaur Mierasaurus, and the mammal-like Cifelliodon, who have ancestors that suggest they originated outside of North America. These animals would have immigrated to North America across a land bridge during a time of lower sea levels during the Early Cretaceous, as the two continents began to move away from one another. This suggests that the breakup of the ancient landmass Pangaea continued for about 15 million years later than previously thought, and migrations of both dinosaurs and mammals were occurring during the Early Cretaceous (145 to 101 million years ago). Come learn about how these important fossils from Southeastern Utah have ties to Europe and Asia.

August 2 – David Boye – “Instrumental Acoustic Guitar National Park Tour.” Experience the mystery and magnificence of the National Parks through the instrumental guitar of composer, musician, and past National Park Artist In Residence, David Boye. This performance mixes music and talk as Boye discusses and plays music composed through the National Park Artist In Residence program inspired by the wild beauty of the wilderness of the west.

August 9 – Robert Anderson – “Soundscapes: How Noise Pollution Influences Wildlife Patterns and Visitor Experience Within Canyonlands NP.” Beep Beep Beep! Tweet Tweet! Sounds are all around us and play an important role in our experience with the landscape. The National Park Service is beginning to understand the relationship between sound and the resources within the park. By preserving the natural sound we all can enjoy our national wonders a little more.

August 23 – Michael Matthes – “Message in a Bottle.” In the summer of 1977, the twin spacecraft Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 set off on a journey to explore the intriguing worlds of our solar system. The mission yielded scientific discovery and connected people to the cosmos. On board the spacecraft was a golden record designed to communicate the story of Earth to extraterrestrials. The record, like a message in a bottle, carried sounds and images to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. What messages would you send into the Universe and how do you think they’ve changed since 1977?

August 30 – Randall Irmis, Ph.D –“The Beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs in Southeastern Utah.” The Triassic Period was a dynamic time in Earth’s history, witnessing mass extinctions, major climate change, and the origin and early radiation of dinosaurs. Though the Late Triassic is well documented in other parts of North America, it is poorly understood here in Utah despite being recorded in extensive outcrops of the multi-colored Chinle Formation. Dr. Irmis will discuss recent fossil discoveries from the Chinle Formation in southeastern Utah made by a collaborative field project between the Natural History Museum of Utah and St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site. These spectacular fossils include diverse bony fishes, giant flat-headed amphibians, large crocodile-like aquatic reptiles, and fossil trackways of Utah’s earliest dinosaurs. This project is partially funded by Canyonlands Natural History Association.