I have always been amazed by the vast shapes and sizes animals come in. For me, many extinct animals look like creatures from another world. Here at Naturalis I got the opportunity to actually study these creatures! My research focusses on the growth, development and behaviour of horned dinosaurs, especially Triceratops. By combining the latest technology, I try to uncover how these dinosaurs lived their life!
Dinosaurs, Triceratops, histology, , stable isotopes, bone-beds, ontogeny, ceratopsians
Horned dinosaurs were one of the most iconic dinosaurs. These giants, such as Triceratops, are well-known in popular media, but how much do we actually know?
The discovery of a large monospecific death assemblage containg the remains of at least five Triceratops individuals provided an unique opportunity to study these extinct animals in great detail.
I try to combine different techniques to create a better understanding of Triceratops biology:
- Bone histology provides a microscopic look inside fossil bones an helps to reconstruct metabolism and growth strategies.
- Stable isotopes help to reconstruct the last days of this particular group of Triceratops. What did they eat? Where did they go?
- XRF analysis of fossil elements will reveal the taphonomic history of this bonebed.
I apply this multidisciplinary approach to answer long-standing questions on Triceratops biology and behaviour. Does this death assemblage represent a social group (a herd) or merely an accumulation of individuals overtime?
Some topics that are close to my research area, including the Triceratops expeditions!
As a PhD Candidate, I supervise BSc & MSc students on various palaeobiological subjects. These topics mainly focus on the Triceratops material housed at Naturalis.
List of (finished) projects:
Charlotte Furer & Sybrand Lucassen (BSc Leiden University) - Osteohistology of Triceratops ribs and vertebrae
Megan Hulscher (MSc Leiden University) - Palaeoecology of Triceratops based on oxygen and carbon stable isotopes
Nadia de Waal (Breda University of Applied Sciences) - Reconstruction of Triceratops fossilisation events through scientific illustration