Focus: Fossil Amphibians and Reptiles - Research

Curator Emeritus John Bolt
focuses on the early diversification of tetrapods, particularly amphibians, from the Mississippian, Pennsylvanian and Early Permian age (ca. 360 to 270 myr B.P.). The relationships and morphology of primitive amphibians from a new Mississippian locality in Southeastern Iowa constitutes one area of current research. Other studies examine the fossil evidence for the origin and evolution of the tetrapod auditory system and its implications for otic evolution and tetrapod relationships, and the origin and early evolution of the living amphibians (lissamphibians).
Olivier Rieppel
focuses primarily on the analysis of phylogenetic relationships of marine Mesozoic reptiles, specifically the Triassic stem-group, the Sauropterygia, from the northwestern United States, Europe, Israel and China. Related research addresses problems of skeleton formation in all three major clades of extant reptiles (lizards, crocodiles and turtles), focusing on patterns and sequences of ossification. He has also made significant contributions toward understanding the origins and early history of snakes and turtles. He also conducts studies in the philosophy and methodology of systematics and its relation to evolutionary theory.
Peter Makovicky
focuses his research on dinosaurian evolutionary history with a particular emphasis on the clades Ceratopsia (the horned dinosaurs) and Theropoda (carnivorous dinosaurs including birds). Much of his research has been dedicated to field-work driven documentation of dinosaur biodiversity and systematics, I use these clades as model systems to study broader topics in evolutionary biology such as adaptation and constraint, biochronology, biogeography, and the role of growth and development in evolution. He has also engaged in research on biomechanics, scaling, ichnology, and behavior, and I maintain diverse research interests in vertebrate anatomy and evolution. Makovicky makes use of many analytical techniques such as Transmitted Light Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy, Computed Tomography and laser surface scanning in his research.
Ken Angielczyk
is the Curator of Fossil Mammals and studies nonmammalian synapsids a group previously known as “mammal-like reptiles”. This group is housed within the Fossil Reptile Collection for historical reasons. Go to the Fossil Mammal section for a discussion of Ken’s research.