USAPlogo NSFlogo IEDAlogo
USAP Data Center
Resource Type
Data DOI
Repository (current):
Vertebrate fossils from the Hanson Formation at Mt. Kirkpatrick, in the Beardmore Glacier region of Antarctica
This proposal supports research on the Early Jurassic Hanson Formation vertebrate fauna of the Beardmore Glacier region of Antarctica. The project supports preparation and systematic and paleobiological research on four Antarctic dinosaurs, including two new species, collected in the Central Transantarctic Mountains. With the new material Cryolophosaurus will become one of the most complete Early Jurassic theropods known, and thus has the potential to become a keystone taxon for resolving the debated early evolutionary history of theropod dinosaurs, the group that gave rise to birds. Two new dinosaur specimens include a nearly complete articulated skeleton of a juvenile sauropodomorph, and the articulated hip region of another small individual. Both appear to be new taxa. The dinosaurs from the Hanson Formation represent some of the highest paleolatitude vertebrates known from the Jurassic. The PIs generated CT datasets for Cryolophosaurus and the more complete new sauropodomorph species to mine for phylogenetic trait information, and to investigate their comparative neuroanatomy and feeding behavior. Histological datasets have been generated from multiple skeletal elements for all four Mt. Kirkpatrick taxa to understand patterns of growth in different clades of polar dinosaurs and compare them to relatives from lower paleolatitudes. This paleohistological study of a relatively diverse sample of sauropodomorph taxa from Antarctica may contribute to determining whether and how these dinosaurs responded to contemporary climatic extremes. The PIs have established a successful undergraduate training program as part of previous research. Summer interns from Augustana are trained at the Field Museum in specimen preparation, curation, molding/casting, and histological sampling. They also participate in existing Field Museum REU programs, including a course on phylogenetic systematics. Four undergraduate internships and student research projects will be supported through this proposal. A postdoctoral researcher has also been supported on this project The PIs are developing a traveling exhibit on Antarctic Dinosaurs that they estimate will be seen by over 2 million people over the five-year tour (opening June 2018 at the Field Museum of Natural History).
Date Created
Smith, Nathan
Spatial Extent(s)
West: 160
East: 166
South: -87
North: -85
  1. S. Apesteguída, N. D. Smith, R. Juárez Valieri, and P. J. Makovicky. 2016. An unusual theropod with a didactyl manus from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia, Argentina. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0157793. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0157793.
  2. Smith, N. D. 2013. New directions in vertebrate paleontological research in the Transantarctic mountains, Antarctica. Palaios 28(10): 680-682.
  3. Smith, N. D. Book Review of "Dinosaurs Under the Aurora." The Quarterly Review of Biology 88(3): 235-236.
Supplemental Docs
Data Files
9.5 kB
37.9 kB