Colorado Springs Research Project Collaborators

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Dr. Tyler Lyson, curator of vertebrate paleontology, co-led the research team. Dr. Lyson broke the discovery wide open by following his curiosity and cracking open one of the many white rocks (called concretions) at the Corral Bluffs site, revealing an entire mammal skull from the period just after the asteroid impact that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Dr. Ian Miller, Earth Sciences Department chair and curator of paleobotany, co-led the research team and spearheaded the collection of fossil plants from the Corral Bluffs area, along with the analysis of more than 6,000 specimens to determine the relationship between plant and animal diversity in the years immediately following the asteroid impact.

Dr. David Krause, curator of vertebrate paleontology, is an expert in fossil mammals and assisted with identification and determining body mass of the mammals.

Dr. James Hagadorn, curator of geology, studies how the planet has changed over time and is researching how the Corral Bluffs fossils formed. 

Research Associates Drs. Antoine Bercovici and Farley Fleming are experts on fossilized pollen and together they analyzed over 37,000 pollen grains to help paint a vivid picture of the plant ecosystems. 

Research Associate Dr. Ken Weissenburger is a geologist who helped tie the fossil plant and animal localities to the timeline. 

 

The City University of New York (CUNY), Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center

Dr. Stephen Chester, assistant professor of anthropology and archaeology, is a paleontologist whose research focuses on fossil mammals after the K-T extinction. Dr. Chester and his lab, including PhD candidates and several undergraduate students, assisted with identification and descriptions of mammals, analysis of CT data, and interpretation of the sensory ecology of the earliest mammals after the K-T extinction.

 

The University of New Hampshire

Dr. William Clyde, professor of earth sciences, and his master’s student Anthony Fuentes used magnetostratigraphy to precisely date the rocks that entomb the fossils. The work conducted by Mr. Fuentes formed the basis for his master’s thesis.  

  

University of Washington

Dr. Greg Wilson, professor in the Department of Biology, is a mammalian paleontologist. He and his lab helped identify and describe mammals, analyzed CT data, and interpreted the sensory ecology of the earliest post K-T extinction mammals.  

 

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Dr. Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and Dr. Rich Barclay, research scientist, are both paleobotany experts who assisted with the fieldwork and description of the fossil plants and paleoecological inferences drawn from the paleobotanical data. 

 

Wesleyan University

Matthew Butrim, recent master’s of science graduate from Wesleyan University, studied the mass of fossil leaves across the K-T boundary in the Corral Bluffs site. His research helped the team understand how the world of plants rebounded after the extinction that killed the dinosaurs. 

 

University of Maryland and the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Sarah “Gussie” Maccracken, a PhD student studying paleoentomology and paleobotany, has been a key collaborator in elucidating the fossil plant story. Her research focuses on the feeding patterns of insects on fossil leaves in the Cretaceous throughout the American West. 

 

The Colorado College

Ben Lloyd, recent graduate from The Colorado College, assisted Dr. Ian Miller with the analysis of the over 6,000 fossil leaves from the Corral Bluffs study area. 

THEIR NEW RESEARCH, PUBLISHED IN SCIENCE MAGAZINE, PAINTS A VIVID PORTRAIT OF THE FIRST MILLION YEARS AFTER THE IMPACT.
Read the Publication

United States Geological Survey

The Museum collaborated with United States Geological Survey’s National Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project to gather high-resolution elevational and photogrammetry data to create a 3D model of the research area. The USGS team mapped each fossil locality and timeline (i.e., radiometric ash dates, paleomagnetic reversal locations, and the K-T boundary) into a high-resolution 3D digital model.   

 

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The Museum collaborated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to film the discovery and ensuing science, producing Rise of the Mammals, a NOVA production by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios for WGBH Austin. HHMI and the Museum use the assets for outreach purposes, telling the story of the scientific discovery to audiences around the world. 

 

The City of Colorado Springs/The State of Colorado

Approximately one-half of the land surface on which the fieldwork is taking place is the property of the City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Department. As a result, the Museum collaborates closely with the City to gain access to the property and to keep them informed on the science. The Office of the State Archaeologist grants the right to collect and deposit the fossils at the Museum.  

 

Private Land Owners

Museum extends a special thanks to the private land owners of Corral Bluffs who helped make this discovery possible.