Paleontology Division

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Dr. Sankar Chatterjee, Curator of Paleontology

Paul Whitfield Horn Professor in Geosciences and Museum Science.

Postdoctoral Fellow, 1977-1978, Smithsonian Institution.

Ph.D. (Geology), 1970, Calcutta University, India.

Predoctoral Fellow, 1967-1968, London University.

Master of Science (Applied Geology), 1964, Jadavpur University, India.

Bachelor of Science (Geology), 1962, Jadavpur University, India.

Dr. Chatterjee's work has focused on the origin, evolution, functional anatomy, and systematics of Mesozoic vertebrates, particularly basal archosaurs, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and birds.  He has done important work on poorly known Late Triassic reptiles in India, including phytosaurs, rhynchosaurs, and prolacertiforms, but he is best known for his work on vertebrates recovered in the 1980s from the Post Quarry in the Late Triassic Cooper Canyon Formation (Dockum Group) of West Texas.  This material includes the large rauisuchian Postosuchus (named for the nearby town of Post), and controversial specimens Chatterjee identified as being avian (Protoavis).  The recognition of these specimens as avian pushes back the origin of birds at least 75 million years.

Dr. Chatterjee continues to participate in Dockum vertebrate paleontology, and takes an active interest in the fieldwork and research being conducted by his students and other workers at Texas Tech.  In recent years, his interests have focused on flying archosaurs.  He has worked on the biomechanics of flight in birds and pterosaurs and cranial kinesis in birds, and has also delved into ontogenetic and evolutionary issues relating to heterochrony in birds.  Dr. Chatterjee is also involved with explorations into the neuroanatomy of these archosaurs.  Larger scale interests involve plate tectonics (his original specialty) and paleobiogeography.  Recently, Dr. Chatterjee proposed the Shiva structure in India as an impact crater of the asteroid that caused the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction.

Supervising the loading of two phytosaur skeletons in India, 1966. With son Shuvo and Shuvosaurus. Coding phylogenetic characters for Polarornis. With Dr. Lawrence Witmer and Anhanguera.

2005 Trip to Lufeng, China.

Dr. Chatterjee, Mr. Pan, and Dr. Wu in Lufeng, China. Dr. Sankar Chatterjee with a new prosauropod. Mr. Pan, Dr. Dong, Mr. Wang, and Dr. Chatterjee in Lufeng, China. Dr. Chatterjee and Dr. Wu with the prosauropod.

Selected Publications

Hungerbühler, A., B. Mueller, S. Chatterjee, and D. P. Cunningham. 2013. Cranial anatomy of the Late Triassic phytosaur Machaeroprosopus, with the description of a new species from West Texas. Earth and Environmental Science, Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 103, 269-312.

Chatterjee, S., A. Goswami, and C. S. Scotese. 2013. The longest voyage: Tectonic, magmatic, and paleoclimatic evolution of the Indian plate during its northward flight from Gondwana to Asia.. Gondwana Research, 23, 238-267.

Chatterjee, S., R. Tewari, and D. Agnihotri. 2013. A Dicroidium flora from the Triassic of Allan Hills, South Victoria Land, Transantarctic Mountains, Antarcticas. Taylor & Francis, 37, 209-221.

Chatterjee, S. and J. Templin. 2012, Palaeoecology, aerodynamics, and the origin of avian flight, p. 585-612; in J. A. Talent (ed.), Earth and Life, International Year of Planet Earth, Springer Science.

Kumar, M., R. Tewari, S. Chatterjee, and N. C. Mehrotra. 2011. Charcolified plant remains from the Lashly Formation of Allan Hills, Antarctica: Evidence of forest fire during the Triassic Period. Episodes, 34: 109-118.

Roberts, B., R. Lind, and S. Chatterjee. 2011. Flight dynamics of a pterosaur-inspired aircraft utilizing a variable-placement vertical tail. Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, 6: doi:10.1088/1748-3182/6/2/026010.

Novas, F. E., M. D. Ezcurra, S. Chatterjee, and T. S. Kutty. 2011. New dinosaur species from the Upper Triassic Upper Maleri and Lower Dharmaram formations of Central India. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 101: 333-349.

Chatterjee, S. 2010. The river of life: a genetic perspective on macroevolution. Forum on Public Policy Online (Journal of Oxford Round Table), Summer 2009 edition, 5(5): 1-43.

DeEmic, M. D., J. A. Wilson, and S. Chatterjee. 2009. The titanosaur [Dinosauria: Sauropoda] osteoderm record: review and first definitive specimen from India. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29: 165-177.

Chatterjee, S. and C. Scotese. 2009. The wandering Indian plate and its changing biogeography during the Late Cretaceous-Early Tertiary period. In Indian Statistical Institute Platinum Jubilee Series: Geology (edited by Bandopadhyay, S. and Bhattacharya, S.), pp. 60-91. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore.

Novas, F., S. Chatterjee, D. K. Rudra, and P. M. Datta. 2009. Rahiolisaurus gujarati, n. gen. n. sp., a new abelosaurid theropod from the Late Triassic Cretaceous of India. In Indian Statistical Institute Platinum Jubilee Series: Geology (edited by Bandopadhyay, S. and Bhattacharya, S.), pp. 30-45. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore.

Nesbitt, S. J. and S. Chatterjee. 2008. Late Triassic dinosauriforms from the Post Quarry and surrounding areas, west Texas, USA. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Abhandlungen, v. 249 (2): 143-156.

Chatterjee, S. and C. Scotese. 2007. Biogeography of the Mesozoic Lepidosaurs on the wandering Indian plate. In Paleontologia: Cenários de Vida (edited by Carvalho, I. S., Cassab, R. C. T., Schwanke, C., Carvalho, M. A., Fernandes, A. C. S., Rodrigues, M. A. C., Carvalho, M. S. S., Arai, M. and Oliveira, M. E. Q.), pp. 559-587. Editoria Interciência, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Kutty, T. S., S. Chatterjee, P. M. Galton, and P. Upchurch. 2007. Basal sauropodomorphs (Dinosauria: Saurischia) from the Lower Jurassic of India: their anatomy and relationships. Journal of Paleontology, 81: 1552-1574.

Chatterjee, S., N. Guven, A. Yoshinobu, and R. Donofrio. 2006. Shiva Structure: a possible KT boundary impact crater on the western shelf of India. Museum of Texas Tech University Special Publications 50: 39pp.

Meekangvan, P., A. A. Barhosrst, S. Chatterjee, and L. Schovanec. 2006. Nonlinear dynamical model of avian cranial kinesis. Journal of Theoretical Biology 240:32-47.

Chatterjee, S. and Z. Zheng. 2005. Neuroanatomy and dentition of Camarasaurus lentus. pp. 99-211, In V. Tidwell and K. Carpenter (eds.), Thunder-lizards: The Sauropodomorph Dinosaurs Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

Lehman, T. M. and S. Chatterjee. 2005. Depositional setting and vertebrate biostratigraphy of the Triassic Dockum Group of Texas. Journal of Earth System Science 114 (3):325-351.

Chatterjee, S. and R. J. Templin. 2004. Feathered coelurosaurs from China: new light on the arboreal origin of avian flight, pp. 251-281. In Feathered Dragons: Studies on the Transition from Dinosaurs to Birds (P. J. Currie, E. B. Koppelhus, M. A. Shugar, and J. L. Wright (eds.). Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

Chatterjee, S. and R. J. Templin. 2004. Posture, Locomotion, and Paleoecology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society of America, Special Paper 376: 1-64.

Witmer, L. M., S. Chatterjee, J. Franzosa, and T. Rowe. 2003. Neuroanatomy of flying reptiles: implications for flight, posture, and behavior patterns. Nature, 425: 950-953.

Chatterjee, S. and R. J. Templin. 2003. The flight of Archaeopteryx. Naturwissenschaften, 90: 26-31.

Stahl, B. J. and S. Chatterjee. 2003. A Late Cretaceous callorhynchid (Chondrichthyes, Holocephali) from Seymour Island, Antarctica. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 22: 848-850.

Chatterjee, S. and R. J. Templin. 2002. The flight of Archaeopteryx. Naturwissenschaften, 90: 26-31.

Chatterjee, S. 2002. The morphology and systematics of Polarornis, a Cretaceous loon (Aves: Gaviidae) from Antarctica. Proceedings of the 5th International Meeting of the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution (Eds. Z. Zhou and F. Zhang), Science Press, Beijing, pp. 125-155.

Chatterjee, S., and Z. Zheng. 2002. Cranial anatomy of Shunosaurus, a basal sauropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of China. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 136: 145-169.

Chatterjee, S., and C. R. Scotese. 2002. Evolution of Biogeography of the Indian plate since the Cretaceous. GSA Abstracts with programs, 34(6): 315.

Witmer, L. M., S. Chatterjee, T. Rowe, and J. Franzosa. 2002. Anatomy of the brain and vestibular apparatus in two pterosaurs: implications for flight, head posture, and behavior. Abstract, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 22(3): 120A-121A.

Chatterjee, S. and C. R. Scotese. 1999. The breakup of Gondwana and the evolution and biogeography of the Indian plate. Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy, 65A: 397-425.

Chatterjee, S. 1997. Multiple impacts at the KT boundary and the death of the dinosaurs. Proceedings of the 30th International Geological Congress 26: 31-54.

Chatterjee, S. 1997. The Rise of Birds. Johns Hopkins University Presss, Baltimore, 312p.

Chatterjee, S. 1991. Cranial anatomy and relationships of a new Triassic bird from Texas. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B 332: 277-342.

Chatterjee, S. An embryonic bird and associated eggs from the Cretaceous of Mongolia. Paleontological Journal, 47(11), 1-18.

Kumar, K., S. Chatterjee, R. Tewari, and G. V. Singh. Petrographic evidence as an indicator of volcanic forest fire from the Triassic Allan Hills, South Victoria Land, Antarctica. Current Science, 104, 422-424.

Chatterjee, S., R. Lind, and B. Roberts. The novel characters of pterosaurs: biological inspiration for robotic vehicles. International Journal of Design and Nature and Ecodynamics, 8(2), 1-31.


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