LAUNCHING IN LATE 2021

Cretaceous Creatures is a new public science project providing school children across North Carolina and beyond the opportunity to make their own scientific discoveries.

Students and teachers in participating classrooms will sort through sediment collected from the Hell Creek Formation, Montana, to discover and identify 67-66 million year old fossils from the time of Trex and Triceratops.  Classrooms will then send data on their discoveries to our team of paleontologists at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to be included in ongoing research.

The Cretaceous Creatures project is part of the broader Dueling Dinosaurs project

at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

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Project Team

Dr. Lindsay Zanno

Dr. Thomas Cullen

Haviv Avrahami

Project Head, Cretaceous Creatures
​Head of Paleontology, NCMNS
Associate Research Professor, NCSU


Dr. Lindsay Zanno is Head of Paleontology at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and Associate Research Professor at North Carolina State University. Despite over 20 years of global expedition experience in places such as China, Mongolia, Thailand, and Tanzania, Zanno has a soft spot for the American West from where she has discovered many new species, including Siats, one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs on the continent, and Moros, North America's tiniest tyrannosaur.  Zanno’s research garners worldwide media attention and has been featured by notables such as the Science Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, CBC, PBS, NPR, NHK, Nova, and the BBC, among others. She was recently featured as Science Advocate for the Walking With Dinosaurs Arena Spectacular and currently serves as President of The Jurassic Foundation, a non-profit, grant funding organization supporting dinosaur research.  She also coordinates several citizen science and STEM education projects including the real-time social media platform—Expedition Live! connecting the public with paleontologists in the field. Zanno’s published impact ranges from top science journals such as Nature to everyday Tweets, and includes >170 technical works.

Coordinator, Cretaceous Creatures

Postdoctoral Research Scholar, NCSU

Dr. Thomas Cullen is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at NC State University and Coordinator of the Cretaceous Creatures program at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, where he is conducting research and designing education programs with NCMNS Head of Paleontology Dr. Lindsay Zanno. His research focuses on understanding how dinosaur-dominated ecosystems were structured and how they responded to environmental change. He also studies the evolution, growth, and biodiversity of North American theropod dinosaurs, particularly ornithomimids and troodontids. Prior to joining NCMNS / NCSU, he was a postdoc at the Field Museum in Chicago, where he researched dinosaur growth and was a primary scientific consultant on the Field Museum’s permanent exhibit about’ SUE the T. rex’. He has performed field research looking for dinosaurs and other fossils on multiple continents, in both polar regions, and across western North America.  In addition to this, he is involved in numerous educational & public outreach programs. A major component of his work  at the NCMNS involves the development and implementation of public science and education programs focused around paleoecological reconstructions using Late Cretaceous microfossil bonebeds.

Research Assistant, Cretaceous Creatures

​Ph.D. Student, NCSU

 

Haviv has a broad interest in the anatomy, paleobiology, ontogeny, and phylogeny of dinosaurs. He is passionate about engaging in opportunities to share paleontology with the public, specifically middle-school and high-school students from disenfranchised and underprivileged backgrounds. He hopes to present science as a tangible, realistic, and attainable career path for students with unconventional educational backgrounds, especially those facing adversity.

Haviv’s dissertation research is focused an exceptional assemblage of a new species of plant eating orodromine dinosaur from the Mussentuchit Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation. He is investigating the osteological, morphological, and histological anatomy of these prehistoric animals in order to reconstruct their growth patterns and understand the high morphological variation observed between individuals. Additionally, he is documenting potential histological markers for burrowing within the clade and is conducting a systematic and phylogenetic reevaluation of Orodrominae. 

The program was made possible by a donation from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to the Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Other Resources

Cretaceous Creatures is part of the Dueling Dinosaurs program at NCMNS. Click the link here to visit the Dueling Dinos website and learn all about these amazing fossils!

Cretaceous Creatures is based out of the paleontology department at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Follow this link to learn about the people and research being done in the department:

The Burke Museum's Discoveries in Geosciences (DIG) Field School program is a partner of Cretaceous Creatures, and offers the chance for teachers to participate in scientific fieldwork & learn from real paleontologists! Follow the link for details.

Paleoart Images: Liam Elward