The home for Western Interior Seaway research

Dr. Laura Wilson with the Allosaurus in the atrium of Tomanek Hall at Fort Hays State University.

The Wilson Paleontology Research Group is is under the direction of Dr. Laura E. Wilson and based in the Department of Geosciences and Sternberg Museum of Natural History at Fort Hays State University. Our research is diverse and explores the paleobiology of a variety of animals using an array of tools, but the common goal is to better understand the organisms and ecology of the Western Interior Seaway of North America. The Western Interior Seaway covered central North America, stretching from the Arctic to the equator during the Late Cretaceous (100-66 million years ago). This seaway played host to a variety of fishes, marine reptiles, sea birds, and pterosaurs.

Research projects span vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology to explore the paleoecology, life history, biomechanics, taphonomy, and growth dynamics of animals that lived in the Seaway. We employ tools such as osteohistology, geometric morphometrics, comparative anatomy, functional morphology, and ecological niche modeling. Much of our research also involves comparisons to extant animals and ecosystems.

Are you a Paleo Nerd?

In case you missed it, Dr. Laura Wilson was featured on the popular paleontology podcast Paleo Nerds in Spring 2021. Check out her interview (and the incredible splash page the Paleo Nerds team put together). Laura talks to Ray and Dave about the geology and ecology of the Western Interior Seaway – the ancient ocean…

Collections Progress Report: September 2018

In 2016, the Sternberg Museum’s Paleontology Department was awarded two National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to support collection improvement projects. For the past two years the collection staff has been working hard on grant initiatives, so we wanted to update you on our Year 2 progress! This year we added 89 new specimens to the…