Our Staff

William F. Simpson's picture
McCarter Collections Manager, Fossil Vertebrates
Year Started: 

Bill Simpson is trained as a mammalian paleontologist and is in charge of all the fossil vertebrate collections.


My love of paleontology started when I was a kid.  Dinosaur books and models got me interested, a visit to the Field Museum when I was eight sealed my fate! 

My undergraduate degree is in zoology and my graduate work is in vertebrate paleontology and geology.  I studied 30 million year-old fossil mammals from a geologically complex portion of the Badlands in South Dakota.  For this research I collected hundreds of fossil mammals which, like any fossil, needed the rock adhering to them removed before they could be studied.  Because I did most of this lab work myself I got pretty good at “preparation".

In 1979 I took a three-year job at Field Museum preparing fossil vertebrates.  This job turned into a permanent position managing the labs.  Ten years later I was given the additional job of managing the vertebrate paleontology research collections – the library of already prepared fossils. 

In 1998 - 2000 I supervised the laboratory phase of the SUE project.  After SUE, as our department grew, I switched away from lab work and focused all my time managing the vertebrate paleo research collections. 

I often get to participate in collecting trips.  These have ranged from looking for fossil mammals in Chile, looking for dinosaurs in sub-Saharan Africa, looking for reptiles and mammal-like reptiles in Madagascar and Tanzania, to looking for dinosaurs in Utah.  I have spent the most time (seven trips) in Madagascar,  six trips to collect fossils, and one to teach lab methods at a university there.  Lately I've been privileged to work with Pete Makovicky's crew in the Early Cretaceous of the San Rafael Swell in Utah