Using fossils of the Paleobiology Database (PBDB) To Explore the Tectonic Linkage of the Americas

Friday 3:00pm-4:00pm Beren Auditorium
Poster Session Part of Friday Poster Session


Callan Bentley, Piedmont Virginia Community College
In this poster, we describe and demonstrate a student activity we developed utilizing the Paleobiology Database's (PBDB's) user-friendly "Navigator" interface. The activity has students to explore the tectonic implications of the Great American Biotic Interchange, an event where North American species moved into South America and (to a lesser extent) vice versa. Students use the PBDB Navigator ( to access information about the time/space distribution of several terrestrial fossil taxa, plot maps of these results, formulate hypotheses about the timing of the build-up of the Isthmus of Panama (and hence the connection between North and South America), and then test those hypotheses using several other sources of online data. The activity has been piloted using our project's research protocols, and refined based on feedback from multiple colleagues using a rubric. It is now available for any educator to utilize: