Our lab focuses on using fossils to understand major evolutionary transitions in organisms and ecosystems. We’re driven by questions, not taxa or methods, and study a range of animals- dinosaurs, pterosaurs, birds, lizards, snakes and mammals, using methods from descriptive paleontology, to quantitative approaches, to molecular clocks. We’re interested in integrating the micro- and macro- perspectives. Purely descriptive studies, focusing on morphology and taxonomy, can miss the larger evolutionary context. But purely quantitative approaches can become divorced from data and reality. We’re trying to do both- to go from little bones to the big picture.
To do this, we’ve worked on extinction of fossil birds (Longrich et al. 2011, PNAS), mass extinction of lizards and snakes (Longrich et al., 2012, PNAS), the biogeography of worm lizards (Longrich et al., 2015, Proc B) and the extinction of pterosaurs (Longrich et al. 2018, PLoS B).
Current projects focus on understanding dinosaur diversity in the final 25 Ma of the Cretaceous, molecular clocks for snakes and lizards, and the diversification of marine reptiles across the K-Pg boundary. If you’re interested in working with us, drop us a line.