At A Glance

Carthage students who are interested in paleontology — the study of the history of life on Earth through fossils — have the opportunity to study under a vertebrate paleontologist and get hands-on field experience that is unusual in undergraduate programs.

Special Program

  • Paleontology

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Study paleontology from paleontologists

The paleontology program is led by Prof. Thomas Carr, assistant professor of biology. Prof. Carr is a vertebrate paleontologist (studying fossils of animals with backbones) and a recognized expert on tyrannosaurid dinosaurs. 

  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,6,387,393/38734_10738_163701665847155.rev.1698895119.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,6,387,393/38734_10738_163701665847155.rev.1698895119.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/png" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,6,387,393/38734_10738_163701665847155.rev.1698895119.png 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,6,387,393/38734_10738_163701665847155.rev.1698895119.png" alt="Maverick Leer" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,6,387,393/38734_10738_163701665847155.rev.1698895119.png 2x" data-max-w="387" data-max-h="387" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “The Biology Department at Carthage has strong research opportunities and lots of interesting classes to take. The professors are helpful and are very good to get to know.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2562-">Maverick Leer</a> ’26</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>
  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,424,1258,1684/38816_10867_163701665847155.rev.1700495946.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,424,1258,1684/38816_10867_163701665847155.rev.1700495946.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,424,1258,1684/38816_10867_163701665847155.rev.1700495946.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,424,1258,1684/38816_10867_163701665847155.rev.1700495946.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,424,1258,1684/38816_10867_163701665847155.rev.1700495946.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,424,1258,1684/38816_10867_163701665847155.rev.1700495946.jpg" alt="Brett Jackson" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,424,1258,1684/38816_10867_163701665847155.rev.1700495946.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,424,1258,1684/38816_10867_163701665847155.rev.1700495946.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1258" data-max-h="1260" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “There is a variety of specialties and skills you can learn as a biology major. I came to Carthage for its paleontology program, which is rare in undergraduate studies and even rarer to have it through a biological and anatomical perspective.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2574-brett-jackson">Brett Jackson</a> ’25</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>
  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,114,1721,1836/37817_8319_163701665847155.rev.1684856863.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,114,1721,1836/37817_8319_163701665847155.rev.1684856863.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,114,1721,1836/37817_8319_163701665847155.rev.1684856863.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,114,1721,1836/37817_8319_163701665847155.rev.1684856863.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,114,1721,1836/37817_8319_163701665847155.rev.1684856863.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,114,1721,1836/37817_8319_163701665847155.rev.1684856863.jpg" alt="Mel Krukow ?26" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,114,1721,1836/37817_8319_163701665847155.rev.1684856863.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/134/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,114,1721,1836/37817_8319_163701665847155.rev.1684856863.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1721" data-max-h="1722" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “Not only a perfectly sized smaller school, but Carthage also offers everything I need to become a paleontologist.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2446-">Mel Krukow</a> ’26</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>

Prof. Carr is also the senior scientific advisor for the Dinosaur Discovery Museum (DDM) in downtown Kenosha, which houses the Carthage Institute of Paleontology (CIP). A noted professional researcher on dinosaurs, Prof. Carr has been featured on the National Geographic Channel, in popular publications, and as curator for museum exhibits, including the “Feathered Dinosaur” exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum.

 

COLLECT THE BONES OF DINOSAURS SUCH AS T. REX & TRICERATOPS

The CIP leads a month-long dinosaur-hunting expedition to southeastern Montana led by Prof. Carr. Carthage students have the opportunity to discover and collect in the Hell Creek Formation, a unit of rock deposited in Montana and adjacent states at the end of the age of dinosaurs. The expeditions take place on public lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.

Since the expedition started, the crews of Prof. Carr have located dozens of dinosaur skeletons. So far, they have cataloged 110,000 fossils that include teeth, bones, and scales of dinosaurs, crocs, turtles, fish, birds, and mammals. The dinosaurs include rare juvenile Triceratops and T. rex. Bones collected during the expedition are brought back to the CIP, where the fossils are prepared and conserved by student volunteers and citizen scientists. The fossils are stored in the permanent collections of the DDM, which is a federal repository for paleontological resources.