Mark’s research focused on the skull morphology and systematics of eudromaeosaurians, a group of dromaeosaurids that includes Deinonychus and Velociraptor. The skull, especially the snout, has been an important source of anatomical information used to construct characters for phylogenetic analysis. However, incomplete specimens can make anatomical interpretation challenging, and the relationship between snout morphology and feeding may influence its reliability for taxonomy. Some of this research indicates that dromaeosaurid snouts can be informative for both phylogeny and palaeoecology, including proportional characters if assessed properly. These features may also relate to palaeoenvironment and other facets of palaeobiology, and underscore the importance of careful character construction. Mark is also a supervisor of volunteers in the fossil preparation lab and has led or assisted several seasons of fieldwork.
Mark is from Eckville, Alberta and completed a BSc in Paleontology in 2017 and a MSc with Specialization in Systematics and Evolution in 2020 at the University of Alberta. Undergrad projects include studies on cursoriality in theropods and the atlas-axis complex in tyrannosaurids. After his master’s, he began PhD work on snakes in the Caldwell Lab.
Funston, G.F., Powers, M.J., Whitebone, S.A., Brusatte, S.L., Scannella, J.B., Horner, J.R., and Currie, P.J. 2021. Baby tyrannosaurid bones and teeth from the Late Cretaceous of western North America. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (In Press). DOI: 10.1139/cjes-2020-0169
Powers, M.J., Sullivan, C., and Currie, P.J. 2020. Re-examining ratio based premaxillary and maxillary characters in Eudromaeosauria (Dinosauria: Theropoda): divergent trends in snout morphology between Asian and North American taxa. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 547: 109704. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2020.109704
Powers, M.J. 2020. The Evolution of Snout Shape in Eudromaeosaurians and its Ecological Significance [master’s thesis]. University of Alberta Education and Research Archive. DOI: 10.7939/r3-hz8e-5n76