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.
Learn from paleontologists
The paleontology program is co-led by Prof. Thomas Carr, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Megan Seitz, preparator of the Carthage Institute of Paleontology (CIP). Prof. Carr is a vertebrate paleontologist (studys fossils of animals with backbones) and a recognized expert on tyrannosaurid dinosaurs. Dr. Seitz is a paleontologist who trains students in lab techniques on authentic dinosaur fossils.
- <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> “Carthage is a perfectly sized smaller school and offers everything I need to become a paleontologist. J-Term study tours are an experience that every school should have. I’m very excited about the Montana trip next summer for a paleontology expedition.”</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 CIP run by Dr. Seitz. 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. Dr. Seitz has co-led the field expeditions since 2011, and she has trained numerous students and citizen scientists in the lab and field.” Dr. Seitz runs the lab housed in the DDM.
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 and Dr. Seitz. 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 and Dr. Seitz 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 Dr. Seitz, student volunteers, and citizen scientists. The fossils are stored in the permanent collections of the DDM, which is a federal repository for paleontological resources.
Stephen Hobe ’15 poses next to a duck-billed dinosaur skeleton at the Field Museum, the species that was the basis of his senior thesis.
Paleontology degree students and Dr. Seitz prospecting for new fossils in the Hell Creek Formation, Montana, during the 2012 summer J-Term study tour.
Students learning bones in the week before heading into the field.
Stephanie Constantine ’15 uncovers a dinosaur bone that she discovered during the expedition.
Brady Holbach, part-time Preparator, using an air scribe to remove rock from a Triceratops braincase in Spring 2023.
Nathan Cochran ’23, Department Fellow, piecing together the fragments of a Triceratops pterygoid (from the palate) bone in Spring 2023.
Dinosaur Evolution & Extinction course (Spring 2019); students are using skeleton models and scientific literature to infer the origin and insertion of a muscle that moves the leg.
Dinosaur Evolution & Extinction course (Spring 2023); students in the process of writing formal anatomical descriptions, each based on a cast of a dinosaur skull. From left to right: Eric Olvera ’23, Mady Savage ’26, Chloe Harper ’23, Nathan Cochran ’23, Brett Jackson ’24, Andy Huynh ’24.
Fall 2022 paleo team at their interview about the summer’s field season at WGTD 91.1 FM, Kenosha’s NPR radio affiliate. From left to right: Nathan Cochran ’23, Prof. Carr, Chloe Harper ’23, Jerome Diehn ’24, Andy Huynh ’24, and Dr. Seitz.
Fall 2022 paleo team at Nathan Cochran’s ’23 poster on his Dimetrodon growth research, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (Toronto, Canada). From left to right: Andy Huynh ’24, Jerome Diehn ’24, Brett Jackson ’24, Nathan Cochran ’23, Chloe Harper ’23, Dr. Carr, and Eric Olvera ’23.
Andy Huynh ’24 presenting on the illicit mammoth tusk trade at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (Toronto, Canada).