By discovering, preserving and studying fossils from around the world, ROM palaeontologists learn how life evolved over time. The more we learn about this deep evolutionary heritage, the more we can appreciate how humans form part of the Earth’s complex fabric of life. ROM research also enables us to reconstruct past ecosystems and large-scale patterns of biodiversity through deep history. This understanding of how ancient organisms both large and small responded to biological and environmental changes contributes to our understanding of climate change and biodiversity loss today.
Our staff is active in Earth and Life science education, promoting interest in palaeontology and evolution through peer-reviewed research, public programs, field trips, lectures, exhibitions, and popular writing.
Research within ROM Fossils & Evolution focuses on three areas:
a] The study of large-scale evolutionary radiations such as the Cambrian Explosion and the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event. Central to our work are the exceptional fossils of soft-bodied animals from the Cambrian Burgess Shale UNESCO World Heritage site in British Columbia, and new fossil discoveries in Ordovician and Silurian rocks of Manitoba and Ontario (including the Hudson Bay and James Bay lowlands).
b] The ongoing study of evolutionary and ecological dynamics of Cretaceous dinosaurs and other terrestrial vertebrates, deepening our understanding of the relationship between environmental and ecological catastrophe and patterns of evolution, diversity, and extinction.
c] The evolution of faunas preserved in the Quaternary and late Tertiary deposits (from 5 million years ago to the present) of North and South America, as well as the postglacial vertebrate repopulation of Ontario.
Fritz Travel grants are awarded annually to graduate students who wish to study the paleontology collections. See pdf for details on how to apply for this grant.