What we do:

We focus on understanding the nature and interplay of the evolutionary, ecological, and physical environmental forces that have shaped the history of life on geological timescales.

Within OEB, we address many aspects of paleobiology, covering all major groups of life, from the deep Precambrian to our own geologically recent past. We employ a wide range of tools, including primary field-work, functional morphology, phylogenetics, isotopic analysis, and theoretical approaches..

Current areas of research include:

  • Causes of biodiversity change on geological timescales
  • Patterns and causes of morphological innovation
  • The early evolution of life on Earth
  • Human and non-human primate evolution
  • Vertebrate functional morphology and paleobiology
  • Biological and environmental interpretation of organic molecules preserved in sedimentary rocks



OEB Faculty with work in Paleobiology:

Andrew H. Knoll (jointly appointed in Earth and Planetary Sciences)
Stephanie E. Pierce

Faculty in other Departments:

Daniel E. Lieberman (Human Evolutionary Biology)
David Pilbeam (Human Evolutionary Biology)
Ann Pearson (Earth and Planetary Sciences)
Daniel Schrag (Earth and Planetary Sciences)


Selected courses in Paleobiology:

OEB 53 (formerly Biological Sciences 53). Evolutionary Biology
OEB 107. Evolution of Plant Life in Geologic Time
OEB 126. Vertebrate Evolution
OEB 208r. Issues in Historical Paleobiology: Seminar

EPS 181. Paleontology and Historical Geobiology

Science B-27. Human Evolution
Science B-57. Dinosaurs and their Relatives