Explore Geology

Paleontology Research

Researchers from around the world have been drawn to National Parks to study the parks' unique geologic features and extensive fossil records. Paleontology research programs provide opportunities to increase scientific knowledge and explore the history of life on Earth. The National Park Service recognizes the scientific value of parks and encourages research when it is consistent with NPS policies. All investigators interested in conducting research in national parks must apply for a resource activity permit.

Included below is a brief look at the work of a few of the scientists that have been working in parks in the past year.

Dr. Paul Bucchiem

Dr. Lance Grande

Dr. Wann Langston

Dr. Tom Lehman

Dr. Tony Fiorillo

Dr. Bill Wall


photo of Dr. Paul BucchiemDr. Paul Bucchiem Sedimentologist/Stratigrapher

Dr. Buchheim is a professor at Loma Linda University, California, and has studied the sediments and paleoecosystems of Fossil Lake for nearly 15 years.

Some of his papers have been published on the web:
A Walk Through Time at Fossil Butte: Historical Geology of the Green River Formation at Fossil Butte National Monument

Fourteen years of research at Fossil Butte National Monument: Detailed looks into an Eocene Lake (abstract only)

Dr. Buchheim's work on erratic cobbles in lacustrine laminated micrite of the Eocene Green River Formation is in GSA Abstract 51449, entitled: "The Origin Of Erratic Cobbles In Laminated Micrite Of The Green River Formation: Ice Rafting, Tree Root Captives, Turbidity Current Transport, Or Waterspout Transport?"

photo of Dr. Lance GrandeDr. Lance Grande Paleontologist

Dr. Grande is curator of fossil fishes for the Department of Geology of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Visit the Field Museum of Natural History page about Dr. Grande.

Dr. Grande's most recent publication is his article entitled "A Well-Preserved Fossil Amphiumid (Lissamphibia: Caudata) from the Eocene Green River Formation of Wyoming" in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Vol. 18, Number 4. This fossil salamander was found in the Fossil Butte Member of the Green River Formation just 14 miles south of the park.

photo of Dr. Wann LangstonDr. Wann Langston Paleontologist

Dr. Langston has been researching fossil reptiles for almost fifty years. He is acknowledged as an expert on ancient crocodilians, but is best known for his work on Quetzacoatalus northropi, an airplane sized pterosaur found at Big Bend.

Dr. Langston is a professor emeritus at the University of Texas.

photo of Dr. Lance GrandeDr. Dr. Tom Lehman Paleontologist

Dr. Lehman specializes in stratigraphy and sedimentology of the Triassic Dockum Group of Texas and New Mexico, but he has done work on ceratopsian dinosaurs of Big Bend in the past. He is currently a professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Some of his recent publications can be found here: Dr. Lehman's Homepage

photo of Dr. Lance GrandeDr. Tony Fiorillo Paleontologist

Dr. Fiorillo specializes in vertebrate taphonomy and paleoecology, particularly dinosaurs. In addition to Big Bend, he does considerable fieldwork in Alaska. Dr. Fiorillo is curator of paleontology at the Dallas Museum of Natural History and adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University. Some of his publications can be found here: Dr. Fiorillo's Homepage

photo of Dr. Lance GrandeDr. Bill Wall Evolutionary Biologist

Dr. Wall's research is in the area of evolutionary biology. He is particularly interested in why major phylogenetic shifts occur. Wall utilizes biomechanical analyses to interpret how effectively certain organisms interacted with their environment. Wall and his graduate students I rely heavily on both GC & SU's fossil and recent mammal collections in his research. He is also interested in biomechanical analysis of the late Triassic radiation of tetrapods particularly: phytosaurs; metoposaurs; and early dinosaurs.
Dr. Bill Wall's Home Page

updated on 01/04/2007  I   http://nature.nps.gov/geology/paleontology/research.cfm   I  Email: Webmaster
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