Monthly Meetings

The Delaware Valley Paleontological Society

May 26th Monthly Program


Our May DVPS Meeting will be held Thursday evening, May 26th at 7 PM via Zoom. Information to access this meeting will be provided by email a day or two in advance.

Our speaker this month will be Dr. Stephen J. Godfrey. From 1998 till present, Dr. Godfrey has been the Curator of Paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Maryland where he is tasked to collect, preserve, and interpret fossils from the famous Calvert Cliffs along the Chesapeake Bay. Most of the fossils that he quarries from the cliffs are of extinct whales and dolphins that lived between 8-18 million years ago. Dr. Godfrey was born and raised in the Province of Quebec, Canada. He has always been fascinated with nature and natural history museums.

As an early teen, he began to collect fossils, seashells, pinecones, and skeletons for his own bedroom natural history museum. He received his B.Sc. in biology from Bishop’s University and a Ph.D. in paleontology from McGill University. Following a two year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto, he moved to Drumheller, Alberta, the “Dinosaur Capital of Canada,” where he became involved in paleontological exhibit work for museums around the world.

Dr. Godfrey’s presentation is entitled, “A Late Cretaceous Filter-Feeding Plesiosaur?”

During the Late Cretaceous, a group of southern hemisphere plesiosaurs developed a variety of cranial adaptations that suggests that they were, unlike all other plesiosaurs, capable of filter-feeding. The upper and lower teeth formed an oral battery that may have functioned like a sieve in straining food particles from mud/water ejected from the oral cavity. This highly derived suite of adaptations is convergent with living gray whales and other ancient whales. This is the first identification of whale-like filter feeding in any marine reptile, a condition once claimed to be anatomically impossible. Stephen’s contribution to this project consisted of sculpting a 3-D life-restoration of the head of this filter-feeding plesiosaur.

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