Two of our curators are headed north this summer REALLY far north! Paleontology curators, Karen Chin and Jaelyn Eberle are going to Devon Island in the Canadian High Arctic to investigate a fossil marine fauna that is around 75 million years old.
At that time in the Cretaceous Period, Devon Island was nearly at the same latitude as it is today (76° North latitude). That means that the winters had periods of total darkness, and the summers had days when the sun never set. The climate, however, was quite different. Preliminary isotopic analyses of fossil skeletal material from the island indicate that the seawater was quite comfortable at the time around 65-70°F! So what was the ancient marine environment like, and what did the marine community look like? Chin and Eberle have secured NSF funding to travel north with a geochemist and a fossil fish specialist to find the answers to these questions!