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Cheney, WA 99004
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Ricardo Ely

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Ricardo Ely

Ricardo Ely is an undergraduate at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington, United States. I have been working with Dr. Judd Case on a dromaeosaurid from James Ross Island, Antarctica, in anatomical evaluations and phylogenetic analyses. Also working with Dr. Case, another project of recent involvement is describing fossil lizard material from the Etadunna and Namba Formations of South Australia, dating to the Late Oligocene. The latter is part of a research internship under the Ronald E. McNair Scholar Program, which provides training, advice, and support for students of underrepresented groups planning on earning a PhD in the future. I am currently a double-major in biology and geology, and expect to graduate spring 2017 with two Bachelor's degree. After this, I will likely begin the graduate school process by earning a Master's degree, then a PhD, possibly postdoctoral research, then work in academia and/or a museum. I have broad interests, ranging from various tetrapod groups throughout, the Phanerozoic, but tend to align with amniote and archosauriform evolution, particularly dinosaurs. I wish to explore themes that lie in vertebrate paleontology and evolutionary biology, macroevolution, and even evo-devo. I have recently become very interested in paleobiodiversity patterns in response to abiotic factors such as climate change and tectonic processes. 

McNair Factulty Research Mentor: Dr. Judd Case - Biology

McNair Research Title: Basal Deinonychosaur from the Early Maastrichtian, Antarctic Peninsula and the Biostratigraphy of the Latest Cretaceous Dinosaur Fauna of Antarctica

McNair Research Abstract: We offer a re-description of an early Maastrichtian, gigantic, basal deinonychosaur from James Ross Island, Antarctica. In 2004, researchers found the remains of a theropod previously referred to Dromaeosauridae, a clade which includes Velociraptor and Deinonychus. Referral to this clade is not supported in our phylogenetic analysis due to certain aberrant morphological features. Turner et al. (2012) notes the lack of a distal, ginglymoid articulation of metatarsal II signifies a placement at least within Deinonychosauria, but not Dromaeosauridae. The specimen also lacks an enlarged ungual of the second pedal digit. Our phylogenetic analysis reveals this theropod to be the basalmost deinonychosaur, a sister taxon to the clade Troodontidae+Dromaeosauridae. However, bootstrapping supports a trichotomy of this theropod, Troodontidae, and Dromaeosauridae with 77% of bootstrapping replicates. We also offer the first biostratigraphic placement of most Campanian-Maastrichtian, non-avian Antarctic dinosaurs and can determine the contemporaneous dinosaur fauna of this theropod.

To learn more about Dr. Judd Case and Ricardo Ely's research, check out this article in the Spokesman Review.

Research sheds new light on EWU professor’s Antarctic dino-discovery

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