Paleontology


I'm a serious amateur paleontologist too! Here are some of my paleontology adventures.


This is me helping out the Arizona Museum of Natural History in January 2020. I'm holding a cast of the frontal bone of a Zuniceratops skull, a dinosaur discovered by volunteers at the AzMNH and ZDIG!
Menefee Expedition 2021
I was invited out as a senior member of the Southwest Paleontological Society (SPS) to the Menefee Formation expedition in northwestern New Mexico in August 2021. I was in the field for a week prospecting, digging up real dinosaur bones, and getting to know fellow paleontologists, both professional and amateur. Thank you to the Arizona Museum of Natural History (Mesa, AZ), SPS, Zuni Dinosaur Institute for Geosciences (ZDIG; Springerville, AZ), and the Western Science Center (Hemet, CA) for the opportunity!

The Menefee Formation expeditions are conducted on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Navajo Nation. The teams have permits for this work. We also have successfully made efforts to connect to the Navajo Nation leadership and local law enforcement, and invite members of the Diné out to the digs with us. In this way, they learn about paleontology, what we are doing, and the fossils on their land. We are deeply respectful of the people on whose ancestral lands we dig and seek their permission and blessing in all new endeavors. 
Me in the Menefee formation, showing off the rocks (as if they needed me!).
Me helping to dig out a leg bone from a Dynamoterror dynastes, a dinosaur that came from the Menefee Formation and lived 75 million years ago.
Behind the Bones:  the Status of Modern Paleontology Research in the United States (2014)
Final Project for the Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Program at the Johns Hopkins University

When I was a sophomore at Hopkins, I applied for and was awarded a spot in the Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Program. My advisor for this project was Dr. Dave Weishampel of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Functional Anatomy and Evolution Department (now retired). It came with funding to do any project I wanted. I had proposed work to continue a project I started while in high school with Dr. David Krause and Dr. Joe Sertich (at the time, both of Stony Brook University), where I measured and analyzed hundreds of teeth from extinct and extant crocodyliforms. It wasn't until I had a conversation with a fellow geology undergraduate during a summer internship that I realized how misunderstood the entire field of paleontology was. I wanted to change that.

So, I decided to spend my senior year traveling around the country and interviewing paleontologists about the field and their perspectives. It was so much fun to work on! I finally got to ask the questions that I wanted to know about and meet some people whose names I had read about in books. It was the hardest I've ever worked in my life and, honestly, the thing I'm most proud of (so far). 

This film premiered at Hopkins on Friday, April 11, 2014. While it's now a few years out-of-date, many of the ideas and facts are timeless. I hope you enjoy the documentary!