Michael Burns

’10 MSc, ’15 PhD

Mike received a BSc with Honors in Geology, Minor in Biology in 2007 at Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, and then came to the University of Alberta to complete a MSc and then PhD with Specialization in Systematics and Evolution in 2010 and 2015, respectively. His work on ankylosaurs began during his undergrad degree by studying osteoderms—bony armour formed in the skin—where he found that they could provide meaningful palaeontological data. This also played a central role in his MSc studies, and broadened to examine ankylosaur growth, variation, and phylogeny in his doctoral work. He employs histological techniques to investigate how the internal anatomy relates to external morphology and other aspects of palaeobiology. Other interests include palaeoecology, and in the palaeobiogeography of Appalachia, a Late Cretaceous landmass that is now the eastern portions of Canada and the United States. After his PhD, Mike became a professor at Jacksonville State University.



Snively, E., O’Brien, H., Henderson, D.M., Mallison, H., Surring, L.A., Burns, M.E., Holtz Jr., T.R., Russell, A.P., Witmer, L.M., Currie, P.J., Hartman, S.A., and Cotton, J.R. 2019. Lower rotational inertia and larger leg muscles indicate more rapid turns in tyrannosaurids than in other large theropods. PeerJ 7: e6432. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.6432

Funston, G.F., Currie, P.J. and Burns, M.E. 2016. New elmisaurine specimens from North America and their relationship to the Mongolian Elmisaurus rarus. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 61: 159–173. DOI: 10.4202/app.00129.2014

Bradley, G.J., Burns, M.E., and Currie, P.J. 2015. Missing data estimation in tyrannosaurid dinosaurs: Can diameter take the place of circumference? Cretaceous Research 55: 200–209. DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2015.02.010

Burns, M.E., Tumanova, T.A., and Currie, P.J. 2015. Postcrania of juvenile Pinacosaurus grangeri (Ornithischia: Ankylosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous Alagteeg Formation, Alag Teeg, Mongolia: implications for ontogenetic allometry in ankylosaurs. Journal of Paleontology 89: 168–182. DOI: 10.1017/jpa.2014.14

Fanti, F., Burns, M.E., and Currie, P.J. 2015. Taphonomy, age, and paleoecological implication of a new Pachyrhinosaurus (Dinosauria: Ceratopsidae) bonebed from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) Wapiti Formation of Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 52: 250–260. DOI: 10.1139/cjes-2014-0197

Xing, L.D., Wang, Y.-K., Snively, E., Zhang, J.-P., Dong, Z.-M., Burns, M.E., and Currie, P.J. 2015. Model-based identification of mechanical characteristics of Sinosaurus (Theropoda) crests. Acta Geologica Sinica 89: 1–11. DOI: 10.1111/1755-6724.12390

Vanderven, E., Burns, M.E., and Currie, P.J. 2014. Histologic growth dynamic study of Edmontosaurus regalis (Dinosauria: Hadrosauridae) from a bonebed assemblage of the Upper Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 51: 1023–1033. DOI: 10.1139/cjes-2014-0064

Baert, M., Burns, M.E., and Currie, P.J. 2014. Quantitative diagenetic analyses of Edmontosaurus regalis (Dinosauria: Hadrosauridae) postcranial elements from the Danek Bonebed, Upper Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: implications for allometric studies of fossil organisms. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 51: 1007–1016. DOI: 10.1139/cjes-2014-0060

Bramble, K., Burns, M.E., and Currie, P.J. 2014. Enhancing bonebed mapping with GIS technology using the Danek Bonebed (Upper Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) as a case study. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 51: 987–991. DOI: 10.1139/cjes-2014-0056

Burns, M.E., Coy, C., Arbour, V.M., Currie, P.J., and Koppelhus, E.B. 2014. The Danek Edmontosaurus Bonebed: new insights on the systematics, biogeography, and palaeoecology of Late Cretaceous dinosaur communities. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 51: v–vii. DOI: 10.1139/cjes-2014-0217

Arbour, V.M., Burns, M.E., Bell, P. R., and Currie, P.J. 2014. Epidermal and dermal integumentary structures of ankylosaurian dinosaurs. Journal of Morphology 275: 39–50. DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20194

Burns, M.E. and Currie, P.J. 2014. External and internal structure of ankylosaur (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) osteoderms and their systematic relevance. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 34: 835–851. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2014.840309

Xing, L.D., Paulina-Carabajal, A., Currie, P.J., Xu, X., Zhang, J.-P., Wang, T., Burns, M.E., and Dong, Z.-M. 2014. Braincase anatomy of the basal theropod Sinosaurus from the Early Jurassic of China. Acta Geologica Sinica 88: 1653–1664. DOI: 10.1111/1755-6724.12335

Xing, L.D., Peng, G.-Z., Ye, Y., Lockley, M.G., McCrea, R.T., Currie, P.J., Zhang, J.-P., and Burns, M.E. 2014. Large theropod trackway from the Lower Jurassic Zhenzhuchong Formation of Weiyuan County, Sichuan Province, China: Review, new observations and special preservation. Palaeoworld 23: 285–293. DOI: 10.1016/j.palwor.2014.10.010

Burns, M.E., Vickaryous, M., and Currie, P.J. 2013. Histological variability in fossil and recent alligatoroid osteoderms: Systematic and functional implications. Journal of Morphology 274: 676–686. DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20125

Xing, L.D., Bell, P.R., Ji, S., Ji, Q., Miyashita, T., Persons, W.S., Burns, M.E., and Currie, P.J. 2012. Abdominal contents from two large Early Cretaceous compsognathids (Dinosauria: Theropoda) demonstrate feeding on confuciusornithids and dromaeosaurids. PLOS ONE 7(8): e44012. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044012

Arbour, V.M., Burns, M.E., and Currie, P.J. 2011. A review of pelvic shield morphology in ankylosaurs (Dinosauria: Ornithischia). Journal of Paleontology 85: 298–302. DOI: 10.1666/10-071.1

Burns, M.E., Currie, P.J., Sissons, R.L., and Arbour, V.M. 2011. Juvenile specimens of Pinacosaurus grangeri Gilmore, 1933 (Ornithischia: Ankylosauria) from the Late Cretaceous of China, with comments on the specific taxonomy of PinacosaurusCretaceous Research 32: 174–186. DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2010.11.007

Arbour, V.M., Burns, M.E., and Sissons, R.L. 2009. A redescription of the ankylosaurid dinosaur Dyoplosaurus acutosquameus Parks, 1924 (Ornithischia: Ankylosauria) and a revision of the genus. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29(4): 1117–1135. DOI: 10.1671/039.029.0405

Burns, M.E. 2015. Intraspecific Variation in the Armoured Dinosaurs (Dinosauria: Ankylosauria) [doctoral dissertation]. University of Alberta Education and Research Archive. DOI: 10.7939/R39K46485

Burns, M.E. 2010. External and internal structure of ankylosaur (Dinosauria; Ornithischia) osteoderms [master’s thesis]. University of Alberta Education and Research Archive. DOI: 10.7939/R33G78