Philip Currie

Canada Research Chair in Dinosaur Paleobiology

Tier 1 - 2017-11-01
Renewed: 2012-10-01
University of Alberta
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council


Research involves

Studying the anatomy, taxonomy, evolution, intraspecific variation, and behaviour of meat-eating dinosaurs.

Research relevance

The research into newly discovered and existing specimens is leading to a deeper understanding of the biology and evolutionary history of theropod dinosaurs and their relationships with birds.

Dinosaur Hunter

Dinosaur hunters love Canada! This country is home to some of the world's richest dinosaur sites. In Alberta, in particular, there are fossil rich resources within its Cretaceous rocks, which hold everything from eggs with embryos to mass death assemblages.

Canada Research Chair Dr. Philip Currie is fascinated with what has been unearthed in Alberta. A world-renowned expert on meat-eating dinosaurs, Currie has carried out extensive research on the anatomy, taxonomy, evolution, and behaviour of these creatures. His expeditions have led him to study the feathered dinosaurs of China, the king of carnivores of Argentina, and a pack of a dozen Albertosaurus from central Alberta's badlands.

Currie's current work with University of Alberta's Systematics & Evolution Group represents the extension of his long-standing research program on the paleobiology of theropod dinosaurs. Theropods (meaning "beast-footed") are a group of two-legged dinosaurs that include the largest terrestrial dinosaurs to live on Earth. Although these carnivores make up only a small fraction of known dinosaur species, they are more significant than other dinosaurs in that they have living relatives (birds) and have attracted the most intense attention by other researchers and by the public.

Adequate research and anatomical description of such specimens form a fundamental part of Currie's program because they provide a foundation for further studies on the relationships, evolution, biomechanics, growth, physiology, paleoecology, and behaviour of these dinosaurs. In addition, however, Currie and his students also use advanced tools and techniques (including CT-scanning for extracting three-dimensional data from specimens, and computer modelling to manipulate skull and skeletal systems of dinosaurs) in order to enhance their ability to test and study the biomechanics, growth, and physiology of dinosaurs and other extinct animals.