Our ScientistsJames Gardner, Ph.D.

Curator of Palaeoherpetology

James Gardner

James (Jim) Gardner, focuses on palaeoherpetology, the study of fossil amphibians (such as frogs and salamanders) and reptiles (such as snakes, lizards, and turtles). The primary goal of his research is to document and interpret the evolutionary history of Mesozoic and Tertiary members of the Lissamphibia, or so-called modern amphibians. His research focuses on the morphology, systematics, distribution (both geographically and temporally), and paleobiology of lissamphibian taxa, especially those with North American representatives. Because fossil and living lissamphibians have a near global distribution, his research includes regional and international components.

Contact Information

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

Toll free in North America
(outside Alberta):

Outside North American:

Email: james.gardner@gov.ab.ca

Current Research

Over the next five years Jim’s work will include the following solo and collaborative research projects:

  • re-evaluation of the supposed Late Cretaceous frog Nezpercius
  • description of new Late Cretaceous frogs from Alberta
  • revision and descriptions of new scapherpetontid and batrachosauroidid salamanders from the latest Cretaceous and Paleocene of the North American Western Interior
  • survey of Late Cretaceous salamanders and albanerpetontids from Utah
  • re-evaluation of a previously described Eocene salamander skeleton from Wyoming
  • descriptions of new albanerpetontid fossils and taxa from the Paleocene of Alberta, the Late Cretaceous of Hungary and Romania, and the Pliocene of Romania
  • description of a new amphibian assemblage from the Lower Cretaceous of southern England

Much of his fieldwork is in collaboration with Craig Scott, the Museum’s Curator of Fossil Mammals, and focuses on Upper Cretaceous and Palaeocene non-marine strata in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Their work involves relocating known fossil vertebrate localities and prospecting for new ones, interpreting the stratigraphic and depositional context of the localities, and collecting material from them. In future years they hope to expand the geographic scope of their fieldwork.

Recent Publications

Roček, Z., J. G. Eaton, J. D. Gardner, and T. Přikryl. 2010. Evolution of anuran assemblages in the Late Cretaceous of Utah, USA. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments [published online Sept 2010; printed publication to follow later this fall.

Gardner, J. D. 2000. Revised taxonomy of albanerpetontid amphibians — Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 45(1): 55–70.

Gardner, J. D. 2000. Albanerpetontid amphibians from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian and Maastrichtian) of North America. — Geodiversitas, 22(3): 349–388.

Gardner, J. D. 2001. Monophyly and the affinities of albanerpetontid amphibians (Temnospondyli; Lissamphibia). — Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 131(3):. 309–352.

Eberth, D. A., P. J. Currie, D. B. Brinkman, M. J. Ryan, D. R. Braman, J. D. Gardner, V. D. Lam, D. N. Spivak, and A. G. Neuman. 2001. Alberta's dinosaurs and other fossil vertebrates: Judith River and Edmonton groups (Campanian-Maastrichtian); pp. 47–75 in: C. L. Hill (ed.), Mesozoic and Cenozoic Paleontology in the Western Plains and Rocky Mountains. Guidebook for the Field Trips of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 61st Annual Meeting. – Museum of the Rockies Occasional Paper No. 3.

Gardner, J. D. 2002. Monophyly and intra-generic relationships of Albanerpeton (Lissamphibia; Albanerpetontidae). — Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 22(1): 12–22

Gardner, J. D., S. E. Evans, and D. Sigogneau-Russell. 2003. New albanerpetontid amphibians from the Early Cretaceous of Morocco and Middle Jurassic of England. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 48(2): 301–319.

Gardner, J. D. 2003. Revision of Habrosaurus Gilmore (Caudata: Sirenidae) and relationships among sirenid salamanders. Palaeontolgy, 46(6): 1089–1122.

Gardner, J. D. 2003. The fossil salamander Proamphiuma Estes (Caudata; Amphiumidae) and relationships within the Amphiumidae. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 23(4): 769–782.

Gardner, J. D. 2005. Lissamphibians; pp. 186–201 in: P. J. Currie and E. B. Koppelhus (eds.), Dinosaur Provincial Park: A Spectacular Ancient Ecosystem Revealed. Indiana University Press, Indianapolis, i–xxiii + 648 pp.

Venczel, M. and J. D. Gardner. 2005. The geologically youngest albanerpetontid amphibian, from the lower Pliocene of Hungary. Palaeontology, 48(6):1273–1300.

Gardner, J. D. and Böhme, M. 2008. Review of the Albanerpetontidae (Lissamphibia), with comments on the paleoecological preferences of European Tertiary albanerpetontids; 178–218 in: J. T. Sankey and S. Baszio (eds.), Vertebrate Microfossil Assemblages: Their Role in Paleoecology and Paleobiogeography. Indiana University Press, Indianapolis, i–x + 278 pp.

Gardner, J. D. 2008. New Information on frogs (Lissamphibia: Anura) from the Lance Formation (late Maastrichtian) and Bug Creek Anthills (late Maastrichtian and early Paleocene), Hell Creek Formation, USA; 219–249 in: J. T. Sankey and S. Baszio (eds.), Vertebrate Microfossil Assemblages: Their Role in Paleoecology and Paleobiogeography. Indiana University Press, Indianapolis, i–x + 278 pp

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