Our ScientistsDonald Henderson, Ph.D.

Curator of Dinosaurs

Donald Henderson

Donald Henderson’s research focus is all about dinosaurs. Lately his studies have focused on the rates of fossil erosion in Dinosaur Provincial Park and its effect on the quantities of dinosaur fossils found there. Don also conducts biomechanical comparisons of the bite forces and skull strengths in ceratopsian dinosaurs and examines dinosaur buoyancy. In order to gain a better understanding of dinosaur locomotion, he creates computer animated models.

Contact Information

Toll free in Alberta:
310-0000 then (403) 823-7707

Toll free in North America
(outside Alberta):

Outside North American:

Email: don.henderson@gov.ab.ca

Current Research

Over the coming year Don will be working on:

  • the estimation of body masses of pterosaurs
  • the estimation of the numbers of dinosaur skeletons lost to erosion in Dinosaur Provincial Park
  • the study of locomotion of armoured dinosaurs (stegosaurs and ankylosaurs) with researchers from the Natural History Museum in London
  • revising a walking pterosaur computer model
  • studying a large Lethbridge/Korite elasmosaur that was collected in 2007
  • collecting a large hadrosaur from the Horseshoe Formation
  • collecting a small tyrannosaur from Dinosaur Provincial Park
  • dealing with the usual fossil surprises that appear every year

Recent Publications

Henderson, D.M. 2015. A wide-guage, large-mammal trackway from the upper Palaeocene of Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 52: 696–700.

Henderson, D.M. 2015. A new, nearly three-dimensional specimen of the skull and anterior body of the Late Triassic ichthyosaur Macgowania janiceps (McGowan 1996) from northeastern British Columbia, Canada. In: All Animals are Interesting: a Festschrift in Honour of Anthony P. Russell. Edited by: O.R.P. Bininda-Emonds, G.L. Powell, H.A. Jamniczky, A.M. Bauer, and J. Theodor. BIS Verlag, Oldenburg, pp. 121–149.

Henderson, D.M., and Nicholls, R. 2015 Balance and strength - estimating the maximum prey lifting potential of the large predatory dinosaur Carcharodontosaurus saharicus. The Anatomical Record, 298: 1367–1375.

Brown, C.M., and Henderson, D.M. 2015. A new horned dinosaur reveals convergent evolution in cranial ornamentation in Ceratopsidae. Current Biology, 25: 1641–1648.

Gardner, J.D., Henderson, D.M., and Therrien, F. (editors). 2015. Papers Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 52 (Special Issue no. 8): i–xxxiii & 537–700.

Gardner, J.D., Henderson, D.M., and Therrien, F. 2015. Introduction to the Special Issue commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, with a summary of the museum’s early history and its research contributions. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 52: v–xxxiii.

Hone, D., Henderson, D.M., Therrien, F., Habib, M.B. 2015. A specimen of Rhamphorhynchus with soft tissue preservation, stomach contents and a putative coprolite. PeerJ, 3: e1191

Henderson, D.M. 2014. Duck soup: the floating fates of hadrosaurs and ceratopsians at Dinosaur Provincial Park. In: Hadrosaurs. Edited: by D.A. Eberth and D.C. Evans. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, pp. 49–466.

Henderson, D.M. 2014. Dinosaurs were not failures. In: 52 Things You Need to Know About Palaeontology. Edited by: A. Cullum and A.W. Martinus. Agile Libre, Nova Scotia, pp. 44–45.

Hone, D.W.E., and Henderson, D.M. 2014. The posture of floating pterosaurs: ecological implications for inhabiting marine and freshwater habitats. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 394: 89–98.

Henderson, D.M. 2012. Engineering a dinosaur. In: The Complete Dinosaur, 2nd edition. Edited by: M.K. Brett-Surman, T.R Holtz, Jr., and J.O. Farlow. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, pp 637–665.

Kubo, T., Mitchell, M.T., and Henderson, D.M. 2012. Albertonectes vanderveldei, a new elasmosaur (Reptilia, Sauropterygia) from the Upper Cretaceous of Alberta. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 32: 557–572.

Seymour, R.S., Smith, S. L., White, C.R., Henderson, D.M., and Schwartz-Wings, D. 2012. Blood flow to long bones indicates activity metabolism in mammals, reptiles and dinosaurs. Proceeding of the Royal Society B, 279: 451–456.

Henderson, D.M. 2010 Pterosaur body mass estimates from three-dimensional mathematical slicing. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 30: 768–785.

Henderson, D.M. 2010. Skull shapes as indicators of niche partitioning by sympatric chasmosaurine and centrosaurine dinosaurs. In: New perspectives on horned dinosaurs: the Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium. Edited by: M.J. Ryan, B.J. Chinnery-Allgeier, and D.A. Eberth. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, pp. 293–307.

Henderson, D. M. and Naish, D. 2010. Predicting the buoyancy, equilibrium and potential swimming ability of giraffes by computational analysis. Journal of Theoretical Biology 265: 151-159.

Henderson, D. M. 2010. Pterosaur body mass estimates from three-dimensional mathematical slicing. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(3):768-785.

Henderson, D. M. and Tanke, D. H. 2010. Estimating past and future dinosaur skeletal abundances in Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 47:1292-1304.

Henderson, D.M., 2010. Skull shapes as indicators of niche partitioning by sympatric chasmosaurine and centrosaurine dinosaurs. In, Ryan, M.J., Chinnery-Allgeier, B, and Eberth, D.A., eds. New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: The Ceratopsian Symposium at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, September 2007. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, p. 293-307.

Butler, R.J., Galton, P.M., Porro, L.B., Chiappe, L.M., Henderson, D.M., Erickson, G.M. 2009. Lower limits of ornithischian dinosaur body size inferred from a new Upper Jurassic heterodontosaurid from North America. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Henderson, D.M. 2006. Burly gaits: centers of mass, stability and the trackways of sauropod dinosaurs. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26:907-921.

Henderson, D.M. 2006. Simulated weathering of dinosaur tracks and the implications for their characterization. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 43:691-704.

Henderson, D.M. 2006. Floating point: a computational study of buoyancy, equilibrium, and gastroliths in plesiosaurs. Lethaia 39:227-244.

Snively, E., Henderson, D.M., and Phillips, DS. 2006. Fused and vaulted nasals of tyrannosaurid dinosaurs: Implications for cranial strength and feeding mechanics. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 51:435-454.

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