Welcome Alex Hastings – VMNH Assistant Curator of Paleontology

Photo by M. Scholz, Geiseltal Collection Archive, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Photo by M. Scholz, Geiseltal Collection Archive, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

I am happy to introduce Dr. Alex Hastings, VMNH’s new Assistant Curator of Paleontology! Dr. Hastings came to us from his postdoctoral fellowship in Germany at the Geiseltalmuseum. During his fellowship, he studied the ecology and evolution of fossil crocodilians from Germany, specifically the predator interactions and adaptations that occurred during a time of climate change. In March, Dr. Hastings and his colleagues opened an exhibit in Halle, Germany that featured his recent research on an extinct land crocodile from Germany that likely ate small horses. For more, check out: http://www.geiseltal-ausstellung.de/

Dr. Hastings received his Ph.D. at the University of Florida (UF) in 2012 and afterword taught introductory geology at Georgia Southern University for a year. While at UF, Dr. Hastings studied crocodile ancestors from South America and described five new species of extinct crocodilians. In addition, he helped describe the giant snake Titanoboa from the Paleocene epoch of Colombia. If you haven’t seen the fossils of Titanoboa yet, below are some pictures I took while visiting UF in June. You can also learn more about Titanoboa in the Smithsonian documentary of the same name as the snake, where Dr. Hastings is a featured speaker. The documentary is available on Netflix.

Titanoboa vertebrae - not from type specimen. Cerrejon, La Guajira, Colombia

Titanoboa vertebrae – not from type specimen. Specimen from Cerrejon, La Guajira, Colombia

Cast Titanoboa vertebrae compared to an Anaconda vertebra

Cast Titanoboa vertebrae compared to an anaconda vertebra

Congratulations Dr. Hastings on joining us at VMNH!

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