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Lance Grande

Distinguished Service Curator

Integrative Research Center
Evolutionary Biology

Dr. Grande started as Vice President and Head of Collections and Research in July of 2004. He is responsible for the four academic departments (Anthropology, Botany, Geology, and Zoology), Fieldiana (the Museum’s scientific journal), and the interdisciplinary scientific labs of the Museum (e.g., the Scanning Electron Microscope Lab, the Elemental Analysis and Geochemistry/ Isotope Labs, and the Pritzker Molecular Lab).

Lance has been a curator in the Geology Department of Field Museum for over 21 years. He was Chair of the museum's Science Advisory Council (an elected representative of the curatorial staff) from 2001 through 2004, and Chair of the Field Museum Scholarship Committee (the museum's main funding organization for visiting scientists) from 1986 through 2004. He holds the appointment of Adjunct Professor of Biology at both the University of Illinois and the University of Massachusetts. He is a member of the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, and a Research Associate in the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Dr. Grande is trained as both a paleontologist and a biologist. He has a B.S. and an M.S. degree in Geology from the University of Minnesota, an M.S. degree in Zoology from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the City University of New York (a joint graduate program between the American Museum and CUNY). Since coming to the Field Museum he has taught numerous courses including Systematics, Ichthyology, and Summer Field Courses, all through two local Universities (the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago). Over the last 25 years he has had regular active field programs in Wyoming and in southern Mexico. His Wyoming site, part of the famous Green River Formation, is one of the world's most productive fossil localities, and Dr. Grande is one of the world's leading authorities on the paleontology of that region. His collecting activities and collaborations with other museums around the world have helped make the Field Museum’s fossil fish collection one of the two largest in North America, and one of the four largest in the World.

Dr. Grande’s main research program is an interdisciplinary one that focuses on the biodiversity and evolution of fishes (both living and fossil). His strongest interests include Ichthyology, comparative anatomy, paleontology, biogeography, and systematics (theory, method and practice). He is a scientist of international reputation, widely recognized as a leader in systematic ichthyology and vertebrate paleontology. In addition to coauthoring a widely used university textbook on comparative anatomy (a standard text used at Harvard, Berkeley and elsewhere) he has authored seven scientific books, including a critically acclaimed 700-page tome on primitive ray-finned fishes and a 333-page book on the paleontology of the Green River Formation that is considered to be a classic work for that region. He has also co-edited a book on systematic theory (together with Olivier Rieppel), and published over 100 scientific journal articles, book chapters, abstracts, and popular articles. He is on the editorial boards of The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and Revista. His work is highly regarded within the scientific community and he has received 11 major grants from the National Science Foundation since coming to the Field Museum.

Additional Information


  • A.A.     - General Business, NormandaleCommunity College, 1973
  • B.S.      - Geology, University of Minnesota, 1976
  • M.S.     - Geology, University of Minnesota, 1979
  • M.S.     - Zoology, University of Minnesota, 1979
  • M.Phil. - Biology, City University of New York, 1982
  • Ph.D.   - Evolutionary Biology, joint program of the American Museum of Natural History and the City University of New York, 1983.


  • Fossil and living fishes,
  • Comparative anatomy,
  • Philosophy of science,
  • Phylogenetics and systematics,
  • Evolution,
  • Paleoecology