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Research Overview

Research Overview

Research Overview

I use a variety of approaches to study evolution and adaptation in extinct mammals, particularly those of South America. I frequently draw on information from living mammals from throughout the world to determine how these extinct species lived and interacted with one another. Much of this is research is collaborative and involves colleagues and/or students. […]

Fieldwork (Fossils)

Fieldwork (Fossils)

My fieldwork mainly aims to increase geographic and temporal (time interval) sampling within South America. Most terrestrial mammal fossils from South America come from the southern part of the continent (particularly Argentina). Therefore, my colleagues and I have focused our efforts on other areas, such as Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. Some of these localities have […]

Systematics

Systematics

I specialize in notoungulate systematics but have published studies on a variety of other South American mammals. Representative publications on various groups are summarized below with links to their full citations. Notoungulates: Much of my research has focused typothere notoungulates, which include interatheres, archaeohyracids, mesotheres, and hegetotheres. Many of these papers have described new species […]

Paleobiology

Paleobiology

Understanding how extinct mammals lived is what attracted me to the field of paleontology in the first place. Living mammals encompass an amazing diversity of lifestyles and adaptations that are even greater when extinct species are included. Paleobiological studies aim to reconstruct the characteristics and habits of these species. This can be particularly challenging for […]

Macroecology

Macroecology

Macroecology means different things to different people. For me, it encompasses  more synthetic studies that try to answer questions of broad interest in paleontology. Such studies frequently raise as many questions as they answer, but continue to refine our understanding of past communities. Because South America was effectively an island for much of the past […]

South American Fossil Mammals

BLOG: The Rafting Monkey

BLOG: The Rafting Monkey

Want to learn more about the fossil history of South American mammals? Check out my blog, The Rafting Monkey. My posts discuss the latest research on South American mammals and fossil mammal sites as well as interesting tidbits from the archives of paleomammalogy. You can visit periodically to see what is new or sign up to get an email alert every […]

NEW BOOK: Horned Armadillos and Rafting Monkeys

NEW BOOK: Horned Armadillos and Rafting Monkeys

Do you know what a notoungulate is? How about an astrapothere, a necrolestid, or a sparassodont? These are just a few of the fascinating mammals that once called South America home. Unfortunately, these and many other ancient South American mammals left no living descendants and have no close living relatives. As a result, they are […]

New Mammal Species

New Mammal Species

One of the primary goals of field research is to document new species occurrences: discovering a new species or finding remains of a species where none had been found before. Most people think that naming a new species is the ultimate paleontological prize. Although finding and naming new species is an exciting and important part […]

Notoungulata

Notoungulata

Notoungulates –  literally “southern ungulates.” – may be the most emblematic of all extinct South American mammals. Notoungulates were the most abundant of the native South American ungulates, and probably more species of notoungulates have been named than all other groups of endemic ungulates combined. The group includes more than 150 extinct genera in around a dozen families. Notoungulates lived […]

Time and “Land Mammal Ages”

Time and “Land Mammal Ages”

You can’t talk about fossils without talking about time, and mammalian paleontologists (also known as paleomammalogists) generally have two different ways to talk about how long ago an animal lived. The first way is to discuss age in terms of absolute time: saying a fossil is 25 million years old, for instance. The only way to […]

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