Being a scientist leads UQ researcher to exciting field work
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Being a scientist leads UQ researcher to exciting field work

Do you hate sitting in an office, and would love to work in the field with scientists from around the world in exotic locations?

Would you like the chance to travel in ships, helicopters and inflatable boats to examine dinosaur fossils unknown to science?

UQ School of Biological Sciences researcher Dr Steve Salisbury gets to do just that in his everyday job.

He was one of 12 international scientists who travelled to Antarctica this year in a mission to learn more about Antarctica’s dinosaurs, with the team returning with more than a tonne of fossils.

“We found a lot of really great fossils,” Dr Salisbury said.

“The rocks that we were focusing on come from the end of the Age of Dinosaurs, so most of them are between 71 million and 67 million years old.

“They were all shallow marine rocks, so the majority of things we found lived in the ocean.

“We did find a lot of marine reptile remains, so things like plesiosaurs and mosasaurs – a type of marine lizard made famous by the recent film Jurassic World.”

The team found a few dinosaur remains too, which they hope to publish on in the future.

“We also did a lot of good geological mapping while we were there,” Dr Salisbury said.

“We recorded the thickness of all the different rocks and information on the sorts of environments that they represent and how it comes together to create a picture of the environment down there at the time these animals existed.”

The fossils are currently being shipped to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History where they will be housed for further study.

“A lot of the bigger bones will need quite a bit of preparation before we can do much research on them,” Dr Salisbury said.

“It may be a year or two before we get the results out.

“What we found or didn’t find isn’t as important as the fact that we were actually there, trying to do it.

“If that inspires other people to get into science, then I’ll be very excited.”

You can catch up with the team’s adventures on its website or via Twitter on @antarcticdinos.

  • Information for international students wishing to study at UQ
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