I am a paleomammalogist; I study the evolution of mammals over geologic time using living mammals and the fossil record. I am mainly interested in the evolution of South American mammals. South America has a rich fossil record and was geographically isolated for most of the past 66 million years. This makes it an excellent place to investigate topics such as mammal adaptation, diversification, and community ecology.
As an Associate Professor of Anatomy at Case Western Reserve University, I teach human anatomy to medical and graduate students and serve as a research advisor for undergraduate and graduate students in the departments of Biology and EEPS (Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences). I am also engaged in public outreach and other activities at the nearby Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where I am a Research Associate in Vertebrate Paleontology.
- Research Affiliations
- Professional Memberships
- Biographical Sketch
- Other Activities
- Assistant Professor (November 2003 to June 2008)
- secondary appointment in Department of Biology (2006 to present)
- teach portions of both medical and graduate gross anatomy courses
- teach an undergraduate/graduate mammal diversity course
- conduct research, mostly on South American mammals
- served as course director for Human Morphology, a course for medical and graduate students that integrated anatomy, embryology, and histology
- presented 28 lectures in total
- conducted research on South American fossil mammals at The Field Museum
Post-Doctoral Research Scientist and Education Program Developer, The Field Museum, Chicago (January 2000 to December 2000)
- helped define new liaison position between Geology and Education departments
- reviewed scientific content for Education programs dealing with Sue the T. rex and paleontology
- designed and implemented training program for volunteers working with the Sue exhibit
- wrote scripts, organized content, and hosted “electronic field trips” dealing with the Sue exhibit
- conducted research on South American fossil mammals
- Thesis: Archaeohyracidae (Mammalia: Notoungulata) from the Tinguiririca Fauna, central Chile, and the evolution and paleoecology of South American mammalian herbivores
- Advisors: John Flynn and Jim Hopson
- Thesis: Micromammal cave fossils from northwestern Honduras
- Advisors: Bill Turnbull and Jim Hopson
- National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship
BA, Interdepartmental Studies (Organismal Biology), The University of Iowa, Iowa City (1989-1993)
- Ernest R. Johnson Memorial Prize for Highest GPA, College of Liberal Arts
- Penningroth Award for Overall Achievement
- Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
- Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society
- Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity
- Barry Goldwater Scholarship for Excellence in Science and Mathematics
- Homecoming King
- University of Iowa Presidential Scholarship
Dr. Darin Croft is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy at Case Western Reserve University and a Research Associate at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He has a secondary appointment in the Biology Department at Case Western and is also a Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, and the Field Museum in Chicago. He came to Cleveland from The University of Chicago in 2003.
Dr. Croft’s primary research area is the evolution of mammals in South America, including rodents, armadillos, sloths, marsupials, and several groups of extinct herbivores known as endemic South American ungulates. He is particularly interested in paleoecology, which is the study of how extinct animals lived and interacted with one other, and the evolution of animals on isolated continents. Fieldwork is an integral part of Dr. Croft’s research, and he focuses on mammals that lived between about 40 and 10 million years ago. He has ongoing field projects in Bolivia and Chile and has collected fossils in several other parts of South America, as well as in western North America, Madagascar, and Australia.
Dr. Croft participates in many formal and informal educational activities. At Case Western Reserve University, he teaches head and neck anatomy to medical students and graduate students and teaches a course on mammal diversity and evolution to undergraduates. In collaboration with various museums, he has given presentations, helped design web sites and exhibits, and participated in live and taped video productions designed to teach both adults and children about paleontology, mammals, and evolution. He draws on his research to illustrate principles of fossil discovery, preparation, exhibition, and scientific investigation to people of all ages.
In his leisure time, Dr. Croft volunteers for The Ohio State University Extension (an organization that brings research-based horticultural information to the public), Science Café Cleveland (a monthly informal science discussion that takes place at a local brewery), and several other local groups. He enjoys traveling, speaking Spanish, trail running, doing CrossFit, gardening, and watching college football.