Sydney Mohr

’18 MSc

Sydney was a MSc student primarily interested in birds and their fossil representatives. Being a bird watcher and photographer for several years, her research involved comparing the jaws and teeth in fossil birds and closely related non-avian theropods, particularly troodontids and dromaeosaurs. The goal was to assess the similarities and differences in tooth development and eruption with the purpose of understanding the evolution of tooth loss in birds. Thin-sections of bird and non-avian theropod teeth show distinct growth lines, which can be used to assess the rate of development within the jaw. In addition, examining internal jaw anatomy and associated implantation of the teeth of birds may reveal overall changes associated with the onset of edentulism, as well as offer insight on the evolutionary relationships between birds and their non-avian theropod ancestors. Sydney is also an artist and illustrator working mainly on life reconstructions of fossil organisms. Her work has appeared primarily in published research and science papers—notably on the cover of Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology—as well as in online courses and museum exhibits.

Life reconstruction of Apatoraptor pennatus, which appeared in Funston and Currie (2016) and its issue cover for Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Sydney holds a BA in Ancient and Medieval History with a minor in Latin from the University of Calgary. Upon graduation, she switched into geosciences. As a geology major, she researched the origins of a set of unique volcanic cliff formations in the Hawaiian Islands, in addition to assisting with an undergraduate project studying an unusual flood deposit on the Red Deer River in Alberta. Sydney completed a MSc with Specialization in Systematics and Evolution in 2018 at the University of Alberta, and then became a PhD student in the Caldwell Lab.



Mohr, S.R., Currie, P.J., Acorn, J.H., and Funston, G.F. 2020. An ornithurine bird coracoid from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 58: 134–140. DOI: 10.1139/cjes-2019-0202

Martin-Silverstone, E., Glasier, J.R.M., Acorn, J.H., Mohr, S.R., and Currie, P.J. 2017. Reassesment of Dawndraco kanzai Kellner, 2010 and reassignment of the type specimen to Pteranodon sternbergi Harksen, 1966. Vertebrate Anatomy Morphology Palaeontology 3: 47–59. DOI: 10.18435/B5059J

Mohr, S.R. 2018. Cretaceous Bird Fossils of Alberta, Canada [master’s thesis]. University of Alberta Education and Research Archive. DOI: 10.7939/R3SB3XD5J