Paleontology

At the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, paleontological research conducted spans diverse subject areas including paleobiology, paleoecology, taphonomy, biostratigraphy, biogeography, evolution and paleoclimatology. Faculty and students combine field research in both modern and ancient settings with museum studies and laboratory analyses to reconstruct past paleoenvironmental conditions and reveal their ecological and evolutionary consequences through geologic time. Collectively, research is focused on three key paleontological questions:

  • How do organisms respond to environmental changes and adapt to different environments?
  • How is biological diversity distributed across space and time?
  • How are paleontologic resources best used and conserved for scientific study?

Understanding the relationships between organisms and their environments is important for interpreting the evolutionary history of the biosphere and for predicting future biotic responses to climate change.

Current study systems include Cenozoic terrestrial deposits with rich mammalian faunas and Cretaceous marine deposits from the Western Interior Seaway, Neogene sequences rich in microfossils and invertebrates from the Eastern Pacific and Western Atlantic Ocean; The close association with the SDSM&T Museum of Geology gives researchers access to research collections built over the last century.

Faculty

Laurie Anderson: Paleobiology, Paleoecology, Taphonomy
Christina Belanger: Paleoecology, Paleoclimatology, Invertebrate Paleontology
Clint BoydCladistics, Fossil bone history, Ornithischians, Mammals
Darrin Pagnac: Mammalian paleontology, Paleoecology
Maribeth Price: GIS, Geospatial, Photogrammetry
Sally Shelton: Curation, Conservation, Resource management

(emeritus)
James Fox: Stratigraphy, Sedimentology, Petroleum geology

James Martin: Vertebrate Paleontology, Biostratigraphy