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February speaker – Dr. Robert S. Feranec

Posted on Feb 22, 2014

Dr. Robert S. Feranec, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology and Curator of Mammals at the New York State Museum in Albany, will present a program titled, “Carbon Dating the Megafauna of New York at the End of the Ice Age” at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History on Monday, February 24 at 7 p.m.


Twenty-five thousand years ago, at the height of the last Ice Age, New York State was almost entirely covered by ice.  The retreat of the ice, in the thousands of years that followed, left habitable land available for plants and animals, such as woolly mammoths and giant ground sloths.  The timing of when these animals first dispersed into New York State has important ecological implications and can provide a model for understanding how the diversity of modern mammals within New York came to be.  Dr. Feranec will discuss the end of the last Ice Age and his current research in understanding the timing of when these large animals first arrived in New York after the ice.

Dr. Feranec’s research is focused on understanding how ecology changes in mammals over time.  He received his undergraduate degree at Syracuse University, Master’s in Geology at the University of Florida, and Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.  Just prior to his appointment at the State Museum he was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University.

Dr. Feranec has overseen excavations of mastodon remains in New York State, studied vertebrate fossils (mostly from caves) in Spain and verified new discoveries being made in New York State, including fossil seal bones discovered in September 2009 at a site along Lake Champlain.  He oversaw the conservation of the Cohoes Mastodon at the New York State Museum. He and his family reside in Schenectady.

Admission to the illustrated talk is free and open to the public; donations are appreciated.  Dr. Feranec’s program will last about one hour and be followed by a question and answer session. For more information, contact the Roger Tory Peterson Institute at 716-665-2473.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator