The Wilson Paleontology Research Group is based at Fort Hays State University and the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays, Kansas, and is under the direction of Dr. Laura Wilson. Our research projects are diverse – exploring the paleobiology of a variety of animals through space and time, using an array of tools. My research focuses on reconstructing Mesozoic ecosystems and Mesozoic vertebrate paleobiology. Current projects include paleoecological reconstructions of Western Interior Seaway ecosystems and understanding vertebrate growth dynamics by looking at bone histology. Students work on a variety of projects, spanning vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology, exploring paleoecology, taphonomy, biomechanics, histology, growth dynamics, etc. Much of our research also involves comparison to extant animals and ecosystems.
The Sternberg Museum vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology collections form the foundation of research here, but lab members pursue a wide variety of research topics that incorporate specimens and data from around the world. The collections’ strengths are in Late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway faunas, Kansas Miocene grassland terrestrial vertebrates, and Pleistocene megafauna. Between the Museum and Department of Geosciences, we have vertebrate and invertebrate museum collections, a state-of-the-art fossil prep lab, a hard tissue histology lab, and stable isotope geochemistry prep lab as research facilities.