April 09, 2010

The Sahara Before Dinosaurs

Located in the Burke Museum’s lobby, a display currently case holds some important research conducted by Burke vertebrate paleontology curator Dr. Christian Sidor. Specifically, The Sahara before Dinosaurs mini-exhibit displays the objects and research collected by Sidor during expeditions to northern Niger. Research is connected to both science and culture, so the display highlights fieldwork, lab work, and the broader impact of research findings on the public.

During these expeditions, Sidor has been studying the Late Permian period (240—250 million years ago), before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Northern Niger has been the location of his trips because he is specifically examining which plants and animals lived near the equator during this period of time.

Based on information found in the fossils collected, Sidor and his research colleagues concluded that the supercontinent Pangea that existed during the Permian period had a desert-like center. Because of this climatic barrier, the animals in Niger were isolated from the rest of Pangea.

The Sahara before Dinosaurs display will be on view until October 3rd. Come see the display for yourself and view collections that include fossilized remains of Permian reptiles and a giant amphibian!

Posted By: Andrea Barber, Communications

Photos: (Top) The Sahara Before Dinosaurs display case in the Burke Museum lobby; (bottom)Pangea drawing courtesy of USGS