Fossil Plants from Mongolia
This research project is an examination of fossil plants from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia. This is an international collaborative project involving scientists from Mongolia and Japan, as well as Yale University and Field Museum within the US. Mongolia is well known for its fossil dinosaurs, but less well appreciated is that the country has rich fossil plant deposits. We have extensive paleobotanical collections from Mongolia that are ready for detailed study in the laboratory. The REU intern will work with Patrick Herendeen (REU mentor) and other project team members to study selected fossil plants. The work will include all aspects of research from processing samples to detailed microscopy (both light and scanning electron microscopes), to description and analysis of systematics relationships. Research work will be conducted at Chicago Botanic Garden and at The Field Museum in downtown Chicago. The goal of the research project is to document plant diversity in the Early Cretaceous, which was the time when flowering plants were diversifying rapidly and rising to dominance in most parts of the world. Interestingly, in Central Asia flowering plants are extremely rare at this time in the fossil record. Thus the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia is a very important place and time for paleobotanical research. We are interested in selecting an REU intern who is interested in plant diversity and evolution to join our team for the summer.