FMEA students conduct research at Field Museum (Part 2)

VanBuren and Worstell at FMNH

FMEA students Collin VanBuren (front) and Shannon Worstell (back) assist Dr. Bonnan measuring terrestrial mammal bones in the Field Museum collections.

FMEA students continued to assist with research on Tuesday, December 21, 2010, this time with Dr. Bonnan.  Dr. Bonnan’s interest in dinosaur gigantism requires a comparative sample.  It turns out that most placental mammals share an upright limb posture with dinosaurs, and this makes their long bones of interest as a comparison to dinosaurs.  Dr. Bonnan employs a technique (explained on the Jurassic Journeys blog) called thin-plate splines which examines bone geometry in the context of muscle attachment points.  Changes in these areas of muscular attachment assist Dr. Bonnan and his students in understanding how the major muscles that pull and move the skeleton have adapted in various mammals.

Christine Gardner measuring mammal bones at Field Museum.

FMEA student Christine Gardner, an honors student of Dr. Bonnan, measures mammal long bones for her research.

One of Dr. Bonnan’s new honors students, Christine Gardner, set to work learning how to measure and photograph mammal bones for her undergraduate thesis on limb scaling patterns in Afrotherian mammals (elephants, manatees, hyraxes, aardvarks, etc.).

The FMEA lab had another productive day and we again thank Bill Stanley for collections help and assistance.

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