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DinoFest 2020 Speaker: Dr. Keegan Melstrom

A scientist smiles for the camera while standing next to a cabinet of fossils.

Title of Lecture: For a while, crocodile: crocodylian endurance through mass extinctions

Lecture Description: Crocodylomorphs, the extinct relatives of living crocodiles, alligators, and gharials, display a range of ecologies through their evolutionary history, but especially during the Cretaceous Period. Despite this diversity, living crocodylians are all semiaquatic ambush predators. Dr. Melstrom will discuss how understanding patterns of who perished through the end-Cretaceous mass extinction may shed light on why this group continues to be successful today, but ecologically limited.

Bio: Keegan is a postdoctoral researcher in the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. He received both his MS and PhD from the University of Utah. He is fascinated by the evolutionary history of crocodylomorphs, with a particular focus on understanding how their ecology has changed through time. He also studies the relationship between skull shape, teeth, and diet in living reptiles to better understand the evolution of herbivory in extinct reptiles, such as dinosaurs and their close relatives.