Research

Chucal

Chucal

Chucal is located in the Altiplano (high plateau) of northern Chile at an elevation nearly 4,500 m. As far as we are aware, it is the highest vertebrate fossil locality in the western hemisphere. It is also among the highest vertebrate fossil sites in the world. The area was at a much lower elevation when its fossils were […]

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Quebrada Honda, Bolivia

Quebrada Honda, Bolivia

The fossil site of Quebrada Honda is located in the far south of Bolivia, about 40 miles (60 km) southwest of the city of Tarija. It sits at an elevation of about 11,500 feet (3,500 m) in the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes, the mountains that form the eastern border the Altiplano. The fossil-preserving rocks […]

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Cerdas, Bolivia

Cerdas, Bolivia

The fossil site of Cerdas, Bolivia, is located on the high, flat plateau in the middle of the Andes Mountains known as the Altiplano. This makes it a challenging place to do fieldwork. The fossil-producing beds range in elevation from about 12,500 to 13,000 feet (3,800 to 4,000 m), which means the air is thin and […]

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Laguna del Laja

Laguna del Laja

A recent area of focus in terms of fieldwork has been the fantastic sequence of strata in the Laguna del Laja area of Chile. These rocks, which are set against a backdrop of a beautiful lake and a picturesque volcano, preserve a diverse array of mammal fossils. We have collected several hundred specimens from the […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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