Students in our lab generally study topics related to major adaptations in vertebrate history, incorporating functional, phylogenetic, and other lines of evidence. Current research involves the evolution of major features in dinosaurs and their relatives, turtle evolution and morphology, developmental patterns in amniotes, evolution of sauropod pneumaticity, the emergence of tetrapods, the evolution of sexual dimorphism, and evolutionary changes in bone histology. Our principal interests apart from science include music, history, philosophy, baseball, football, hockey, and cooking. Oh, and off the wall humor.

We seek graduate students who want to ask integrative questions about the life of the past, particularly regarding Mesozoic vertebrates. Our students are well supported, and have a guarantee of at least five years of support from research associateships, curatorial assistance, and graduate student instructorships, in addition to any outside fellowships that the students may be awarded. New graduate students, whether with strong biological or geological background, are highly encouraged to work on topics related to vertebrate paleontology and evolution. For more information about graduate work, look up the Department of Integrative Biology.

Principal Investigator


Major changes in the evolution of vertebrates


Graduate Students

Elizabeth Ferrer

Evolution of Varanid lizards using comparative phylogenetic and morphological methods including geometric morphometrics


Ashley Poust

Vertebrate paleontology and evolution


Sara ElShafie

Vertebrate Paleontology, Herpetology, Global Change


Undergraduate Students

Post-docs and Visiting Scholars

Recent Lab Alumni

Katie Brakora, PhD 2013

Sexual dimorphism and morphometrics of Bovidae


Sarah Werning, PhD 2013

NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, SUNY Stony Brook

Brian Swartz, PhD 2011

Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Berkeley and Stanford University

Randall Irmis, PhD 2008

Professor, Department of Geology, and Curator, Utah Museum of Natural

Andrew Lee, PhD 2007

Assistant Professor, Anatomy, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ

[website] [Paleohistology Repository]

Johan Lindgren, Postdoc 2006-2007

Researcher, Department of Geology, Lund University, Sweden

Jacqueline Moustakas, PhD 2007

Postdoctoral Researcher, Jukka Jernvall Lab, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Finland, Helsinki

Mathew Wedel, PhD 2007

Assistant Professor, Anatomy, Western University of the Health Sciences, Pomona, CA
[website] [SV-POW!]

Kenneth Angielczyk, PhD 2003

Curator of Fossil Mammals, Field Museum of Natural History

James Parham, PhD 2003

Assistant Professor, California State University, Fullerton

John Hutchinson, PhD 2001

Professor, Royal Veterinary College, London

Ryosuke Motani, Miller Postdoctoral Researcher 1998-2000

Professor of Geology, University of California, Davis