Staff Profile

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Peter Makovicky


Integrative Research Center

My research focuses on dinosaurian evolutionary history with a particular emphasis on the clades Ceratopsia (the horned dinosaurs) and Theropoda (carnivorous dinosaurs including birds). While much of my 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. I have also engaged in research on biomechanics, scaling, ichnology, and population biology, and I maintain diverse research interests in vertebrate anatomy and evolution. In my research, I make use of many analytical techniques such as Transmitted Light Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy, Computed Tomography and laser surface scanning, and I am a strong proponent of using new technology to analyze fossils. I have garnered seamless NSF grant support for my research for over a decade, and have built an interdisciplinary research program in evolutionary paleontology that combines fieldwork with specimen-based and theoretical components.

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Additional Information


B.S.- Biology - Faculty of Sciences, Copenhagen Univ., Denmark, June 1993

M.S.- Biology - Faculty of Sciences, Copenhagen Univ., Denmark, September 1995.

M. Phil. - Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia Univ., May 2001.

Ph.D. - Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia Univ., Feb. 2002 Dissertation title: Taxonomic revisions and phylogenetic relationships among basal Neoceratopsia (Dinosauria: Ornithischia).

Grants & awards


Governmental funding agencies:

Graduate Fellowship, Danish Research Academy 1996-1999 - stipend, tuition plus research support (~$10000).

National Science Foundation- EAR  0228607 “Assembling the Tree of Life: Collaborative Research: Archosaur phylogeny” 10/2002-09/2009- $93,000 (with M. Norell, J. Cracraft, G. Barrowclough, J. Clark, and B. Livezey).

National Science Foundation EAR 0418648 - "Collaborative Research: The Role of Development and Life History Traits in the Evolution of Ceratopsian Dinosaurs," 10/2004- 09/2009 $99,292 (with G. Erickson).

National Science Foundation DEB 0709771 – “DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Morphometric study of crocodylian cranial ecomorphology through phylogeny and ontogeny”, 7/2007-6/2009 $11330 (with R. Sadleir).

National Science Foundation DEB 0808250– “DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Integrating molecular, morphological, and paleontological data: Phylogeny, diversification, and character evolution within the Pelecaniformes. 7/2008-6/2010 $11800 (with N.D. Smith).

National Science Foundation ANT 0838925- “Collaborative research: New research on the Mesozoic vertebrate faunas of the Beardmore Glacier region, Antarctica.”$212,547.

National Science Foundation DBI 0849958- “REU Site: Networked Access to Systematic Resources for Undergraduates in Chicagoland” $258,464. (co-PI, P. Sierwald, PI)

Other funding bodies:

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Grant (American Museum of Natural History): 1999 - $1600

Dinamation International Society: student scholarship 1999 - $1000

National Geographic Committee on Research and Exploration: “Paleontological Exploration of the Upper Jurassic Houcheng Fm. Hebei, China” 2002 - $9,500.

Grainger Foundation (Field Museum): “The dinosaur faunas of the Shandong Peninsula and their geographic and temporal significance” 2007- $14,500

Grainger Foundation (Field Museum): “China’s Pompei Dinosaurs” 2010- $22.500

Work experience

Department Chair, Dept. of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History, January 2009 - present

Associate Curator, Dept. of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History, November 2006-present.

Assistant Curator, Dept. of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History, July, 2001 – 2006.

Lecturer, Committee on Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of Chicago, 2002 – present.

Research Associate, Div. of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History 2002 - present.