R.W. Moriarty Science Seminar: Abagael West

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R.W. Moriarty Science Seminar: Abagael West
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Carnegie Museum of Natural History says
Join us for this series of science seminars at Carnegie Museum of Natural History! Hear Carnegie scientists and invited researchers discuss their latest findings on a wide variety of topics.

Earth Theater, first floor rear
Admission to the seminar is free. Check in at the front desk.

“Origin, Evolution, and Extinction of a Mammalian Order: Notoungulata ”
Abagael West

The extinct, endemic, herbivorous, hoofed mammals of South America are a diverse and abundant array—ranging from tiny forest-dwelling leaf-eaters that resemble archaic primates to rabbit-sized animals with enlarged, gnawing teeth and even to giant forms that resemble camels, horses, hippos, or elephants. These animals, which belong to several extinct orders and are collectively termed meridiungulates, range geographically from high latitude pampas to the Peruvian rainforest to the Andes and chronologically from the last gasp of the dinosaurs at the end of the Mesozoic to the end of the most recent Pleistocene Ice Age. This fossil record is profoundly useful in chronologic applications and in paleoclimatic and historical biogeographic inferences based on faunal assemblages and fossil morphology. West’s research focuses on this profusion of data associated with the fossil record through several lenses: phylogenetics, climate history, and chronology. A key unresolved question is what are the higher-level phylogenetic affinities of meridiungulates (in particular, the entirely extinct order Notoungulata) to other placental mammals?
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By: Carnegie Museum of Natural History

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