We are looking for motivated PhD and Honours students to help research the dinosaur tracks of the Broome Sandstone on the Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia. 

The Kimberley’s ‘dinosaur coast’ preserves what is arguably one the largest and most significant stretches of dinosaur track-sites in the world. Despite recent National Heritage listing, the majority of these tracksites are largely undocumented, such that their full scientific significance is poorly understood.

Anthony Romilio, Dr Steve Salisbury and Jay Nair (from left to right) examine newly discovered theropod tracks at Jungkurr–Ngakalyalya. Photo: Damian Kelly Photography.

As part of a three year ARC Discovery Project (2014­­–2016), our aim is to digitally map the dinosaur tracksites of the Dampier Peninsula, utilising high-resolution aerial photography with both manned and unmanned aircraft, airborne and hand-held LiDAR imaging, and digital photogrammetry. The results will allow us to construct high-resolution, 3D digital outcrop models of the tracksites, and bring the 130 million-year-old landscapes back to life.

Dr Steve Salisbury (left) and Anthony Romilio (right) ducument a sauropod track at at Jungkurr–Ngakalyalya for 3D photogrammetry. Photo: Nigel Clarke.

 

Potential research areas for PhD and Honours projects include the following:

  • Detailed analysis and interpretation of new dinosaur tracksites using 3D laser scanning and digital photogrammetry;
  • Ichnotaxonomic, behavioural or biomechanical analysis of various types of dinosaur tracks (sauropods, thyreophorans, ornithopods, theropods);
  • Palaeoenvironmental analysis and palaeoecology of the Broome Sandstone and its biota (facies analysis, stratigraphy and palaeobiodiversity).
Broome Dinosaur Trackers Damien Hirsch (left) and Louise Middleton (right) help Goolarabooloo Law Boss Richard Hunter (centre) uncover new tracks north of Walmadany. Photo: Nigel Clarke

All projects are expected to involve some amount of fieldwork, and funding is set aside to facilitate this. The ARC project will nominally involve three ~10 day field trips each year, with the timing contingent on tides and weather conditions.

Good spoken and written English is desirable. Applicants should ideally have a background in either palaeontology, ichnology, comparative anatomy, biomechanics, sedimentary geology, or digital 3D visualisation.

Please send expressions of interest, along with a CV and academic transcript, to Dr Steve Salisbury

Early morning tracking session at Yinara. Photo: Steve Salisbury

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All our research is conducted with the consent and collaboration of the area's Traditional Custodians and the Broome Dinosaur Trackers. Goolarabooloo Law Boss Phillip Roe (left) and Yawuru elder Micklo Corpus (right) during a recent fieldtrip. Photo: Steve Salisbury.