Ricardo Ely graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2017 with a degree in Biology. He did research with Dr. Judd Case on a dromaeosaurid from James Ross Island, Antarctica, as well as on fossil lizard material from the Etadunna and Namba Formations of South Australia, dating to the Late Oligocene. His research include various tetrapod groups throughout the Phanerozoic, particularly dinosaurs, vertebrate paleontology, evolutionary biology, macroevolution, and in paleobiodiversity patterns in response to abiotic factors such as climate change and tectonic processes. Ricardo began at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, in the Fall of 2017 in the Department of Animal Biology's Master's of Science program with full funding. Ricardo was also admitted to a PhD program at the University of College London and a MS in Geology at Indiana University.
McNair Faculty Research Mentor 2016: Dr. Judd Case - Biology
Research Title: Basal Deinonychosaur from the Early Maastrichtian, Antarctic Peninsula and the Biostratigraphy of the Latest Cretaceous Dinosaur Fauna of Antarctica
Abstract: We offer a re-description of an early Maastrichtian, gigantic, basal deinonychosaur from James Ross Island, Antarctica. In 2004, researchers found the remains of a theropod previously referred to Dromaeosauridae, a clade which includes Velociraptor and Deinonychus. Referral to this clade is not supported in our phylogenetic analysis due to certain aberrant morphological features. Turner et al. (2012) notes the lack of a distal, ginglymoid articulation of metatarsal II signifies a placement at least within Deinonychosauria, but not Dromaeosauridae. The specimen also lacks an enlarged ungual of the second pedal digit. Our phylogenetic analysis reveals this theropod to be the basalmost deinonychosaur, a sister taxon to the clade Troodontidae+Dromaeosauridae. However, bootstrapping supports a trichotomy of this theropod, Troodontidae, and Dromaeosauridae with 77% of bootstrapping replicates. We also offer the first biostratigraphic placement of most Campanian-Maastrichtian, non-avian Antarctic dinosaurs and can determine the contemporaneous dinosaur fauna of this theropod.