Aragosaurus: Geological Resources and Palaeoenvironments

Presentation

The aim of ARAGOSAURUS is to reconstruct the environments of the past on the basis of their geological, mineralogical and palaeontological record, as a means for understanding present-day ecosystems and proposing future scenarios.  

The main study area is Spain, since within a small geographical area the geological record of the last 500 million terrestrial years is represented, with a variety of terrestrial and shallow marine ecosystems that make it a natural laboratory for understanding its evolution through space and time.   

As well as using the basic work techniques of geology, palaeontology and mineralogy such as optical microscopy, the research group is highly dynamic in its use of modern technologies such as photogravimetry, synchrotron radiation, high-resolution electron microscopy, spectroscopy, CT scans, stable isotope analysis of carbon, oxygen and strontium, geometric morphometry and ancient DNA analysis. This has enabled us to achieve novel results at an international level.

 

Lines of investigation

The team is publishing articles on, and seeks to maintain its interest in, the following specific themes

  1. The marine platforms of the Jurassic; organic productivity, record of climate changes, and use as analogues for hydrocarbon reservoirs
  2. Continental and transitional environments and the changes in climate and palaeobiodiversity of the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary, and their importance at a global level
  3. The tropical world of the Lower Cretaceous; palaeobiodiversity of dinosaurs; the soils as climatic indicators and as geological resources of strategic interest
  4. Palaeobiogeography as a factor in the dispersal of organisms
  5. The Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary extinction  
  6. The Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum and the marine and continental ecosystems of the Eocene  
  7. Climatic and environmental changes in ecosystems with humans and their role in present-day changes in biodiversity  
  8. Evolution and phylogeny of the mammal species of the Quaternary and the present; morphometry and DNA
  9. 3-D modelling of fossils by means of computer tomography and synchrotron

 

Projects undertaken

ARAGOSAURUS has been researching into ecosystems with fossil vertebrates for more than 25 years. The results of these investigations are found in many innovatory products in the field of geological and palaeontological tourism. One might cite in this context: the Aren Museum of Dinosaurs (‘The Last Dinosaurs of Aren’), the Tella Cave Bear Museum, the Cultural Park of Río Martin, the Dinosaur Route of Soria, the Natural Science Museum of the University of Zaragoza, and the Atapuerca project. The group is multidisciplinary in that it reconstructs ecosystems by means of palaeontology, stratigraphy, sedimentology and mineralogy, in conjunction with the study of vertebrates and invertebrates and the interpretation of the sedimentary environment. This will make it possible to assess the impact of humankind in the Anthropocene with a view to conserving biodiversity in the future.

The scientific impact of the results obtained is corroborated by several hundred scientific publications, more than 200 of which are in SCI journals. 

Aragosaurus takes part in national and international congresses, has contributed more than 300 communications to national and international conferences, and organized more than a score of congresses

In addition, it has achieved outreach to the general public through some 200 public conferences and in more than 20 popular books and articles

Aragosaurus actively maintains its webpagehttp://www.aragosaurus.com/.

Infrastructure

  • Equipment required for stratigraphic and sedimentological analysis (Area of Stratigraphy)
  • Equipment required for the excavation, preparation and study of the fossil remains of vertebrates and microvertebrates (Area of Palaeontology)
  • Laboratory of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Zaragoza, with all the relevant journals
  • Research support services of the University of Zaragoza
  • Ancient DNA laboratory in the University Institute of Research into Environmental Sciences (IUCA)
  • Services of specialized businesses.

 

Technological Offer/Services

  • Geological cartography and stratigraphic and sedimentological sequences
  • Applied research in prospecting for hydrocarbons in carbonate reservoirs
  • Conservation and outreach activity on the geological and palaeontological heritage
  • Consultancy in vertebrate palaeontology
  • Consultancy in the dating and environmental reconstruction of stratigraphic sequences of archaeological and palaeontological sites  
  • Mineralogical studies using X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy
DGA GROUP REFERENCE:
YEAR OF CREATION: 2003
NUMBER OF THESES SUPERVISED: 16
NUMBER OF PUBLICATIONS: 265

Miembros

    Chief Investigator:

    José Ignacio Canudo Sanagustín

    jicanudo@unizar.es