Multituberculates were among the most taxonomically rich and numerically abundant lineage of mammals during the Mesozoic and early Cenozoic, but they are now extinct and remain poorly understood. I am interested in all things multituberculate, including understanding their diet, locomotor habits, evolutionary relationships, behavior, and life history traits.
Our understanding of the evolution of mammalian life history traits relies heavily on studies of modern mammals and their ancient, non-mammalian-synapsid ancestors. Thus, the life history traits of stem and early crown mammals are largely unknown. By studying the bone histology of Mesozoic and early Cenozoic mammals, I aim to elucidate the pattern and timing of mammalian life history strategies.
In order to reconstruct the life histories of extinct small mammals, we must first understand how the life histories of extant small mammals are captured in their bone microstructure. I am working to build an dataset of extant small mammal bone histology to understand the histology of extinct small mammals.
In order to make inferences about the paleobiology of Mesozoic and early Cenozoic mammals, we must have a robust understanding of form and function in extant mammals. As such, a lot of my research is focused on understanding the skeletal ecomorphology of extant mammals.
The ecosystems we see on land today can trace their roots to the Late Cretaceous and Paleocene. I am involved in a collaborative project to understand how terrestrial ecosystems changed during the Late Cretaceous and Paleocene of North America.
In order to accurately interpret the paleobiology of extinct mammals we must have a solid understanding of the biases inherent in the fossil record. I am involved in a collaborative project to understand the taphonomic history of vertebrate microfossil bonebeds, especially in Montana.
The Egg Mountain locality records a diversity of exceptionally preserved Late Cretaceous vertebrate fossils and Greg Wilson Mantilla and David Varricchio (Montana State) lead a project focused on understanding this ancient ecosystem. I am involved in studying the mammals from Egg Mountain.
Much of our understanding of mammalian evolution is shaped by those portions of the fossil record that are well-documented. I am working with many others to fill in major gaps in the Mesozoic and early Cenozoic fossil record. For example, the Early to mid-Cretaceous of North America.