4 South 1.12
Dr Nick Longrich
My research focuses on using the fossil record to understand major evolutionary transitions, both at the level of the organism and at the level of the ecosystem. I'm interested in the origins of new kinds of organisms, including the evolution of birds from dinosaurs and the evolution of snakes from lizards, as well as major changes to the biosphere caused by geologic events, particularly the Chicxulub asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. These transitions, which are responsible for the organisms and ecosystems all around us today, can only be understood using the paleontological record: a complete understanding of the patterns and processes of evolution requires fossils.
Over the past few years, I’ve focused on using the Cretaceous fossil record to better understand the end-Cretaceous mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. Using vertebrate microfossils, it has been possible to show that not only did the asteroid cause the extinction of the dinosaurs, it also led to major extinctions among birds, lizards, and snakes, which then drove adaptive radiations in the aftermath. Other projects have focused on the origin of major groups of animals. Fossils of a primitive Cretaceous snake have helped shed light on the evolution of snakes from burrowing lizards, and a restudy of the Jurassic bird Archaeopteryx have revealed a surprisingly primitive wing structure, better suited for gliding than active flapping flight.
My goals are to continue work on the end-Cretaceous extinction event, and to launch new projects aimed at understanding vertebrate radiations and extinctions during the Cretaceous and Paleogene. In the meantime I am busy working on dinosaur systematics, including revisions to horned dinosaurs and ornithomimosaurs… and for something completely different, I have a new Theory on the Brontosaurus. I am always happy to talk with prospective graduate students and postdocs.
Longrich, N., 2015. Four-Legged Fossil Snake Stirs The Evolutionary Pot. Reptiles Magazine
Longrich, N. R., 2014. The horned dinosaurs Pentaceratops and Kosmoceratops from the upper Campanian of Alberta and implications for dinosaur biogeography. Cretaceous Research, 51, pp. 292-308.
Darroch, S. A. F., Webb, A. E., Longrich, N. and Belmaker, J., 2014. Palaeocene-Eocene evolution of beta diversity among ungulate mammals in North America. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 23 (7), pp. 757-768.
Vinther, J., Stein, M., Longrich, N. R. and Harper, D. A. T., 2014. A suspension-feeding anomalocarid from the Early Cambrian. Nature, 507 (7493), pp. 496-499.
Peterson, J. E., Dischler, C. and Longrich, N. R., 2013. Distributions of cranial pathologies provide evidence for head-butting in dome-headed dinosaurs (Pachycephalosauridae). PLoS ONE, 8 (7), e68620.
Longrich, N. R., Barnes, K., Clark, S. and Millar, L., 2013. Caenagnathidae from the upper campanian aguja formation of west texas, and a revision of the caenagnathinae. Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, 54 (1), pp. 23-49.
Longrich, N. R., 2013. Judiceratops tigris, a new horned dinosaur from the Middle Campanian Judith river formation of Montana. Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, 54 (1), pp. 51-65.
Longrich, N.R., Barnes, K., Clark, S. and Millar, L., 2013. Erratum:Correction to "caenagnathidae from the upper campanian aguja formation of west Texas, and a revision of the caenagnathinae". Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, 54 (2), pp. 263-264.
Longrich, N. R., Bhullar, B.-A. S. and Gauthier, J. A., 2012. Mass extinction of lizards and snakes at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109 (52), pp. 21396-21401.
Longrich, N. R., Vinther, J., Meng, Q., Li, Q. and Russell, A. P., 2012. Primitive wing feather arrangement in Archaeopteryx lithographica and Anchiornis huxleyi. Current Biology, 22 (23), pp. 2262-2267.
Longrich, N. R., Bhullar, B.-A. S. and Gauthier, J. A., 2012. A transitional snake from the Late Cretaceous period of North America. Nature, 488 (7410), pp. 205-208.
Longrich, N. R. and Field, D. J., 2012. Torosaurus Is not triceratops:Ontogeny in chasmosaurine ceratopsids as a case study in dinosaur taxonomy. PLoS ONE, 7 (2), e32623.
Longrich, N. R., Tokaryk, T. and Field, D. J., 2011. Mass extinction of birds at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108 (37), pp. 15253-15257.
Longrich, N. R. and Olson, S. L., 2011. The bizarre wing of the Jamaican flightless ibis Xenicibis xympithecus:A unique vertebrate adaptation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278 (1716), pp. 2333-2337.
Longrich, N. R., 2011. Titanoceratops ouranos, a giant horned dinosaur from the late Campanian of New Mexico. Cretaceous Research, 32 (3), pp. 264-276.
Lyson, T. R. and Longrich, N. R., 2011. Spatial niche partitioning in dinosaurs from the latest cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of North America. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278 (1709), pp. 1158-1164.
Schott, R. K., Evans, D. C., Goodwin, M. B., Horner, J. R., Brown, C. M. and Longrich, N. R., 2011. Cranial ontogeny in Stegoceras validum (dinosauria: Pachycephalosauria):A quantitative model of pachycephalosaur dome growth and variation. PLoS ONE, 6 (6), e21092.
Longrich, N. R., Currie, P. J. and Zhi-Ming, D., 2010. A new oviraptorid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of Bayan Mandahu, Inner Mongolia. Palaeontology, 53 (5), pp. 945-960.
Longrich, N. R. and Ryan, M. J., 2010. Mammalian tooth marks on the bones of dinosaurs and other Late Cretaceous vertebrates. Palaeontology, 53 (4), pp. 703-709.
Longrich, N. R., Sankey, J. and Tanke, D., 2010. Texacephale langstoni, a new genus of pachycephalosaurid (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from the upper Campanian Aguja Formation, southern Texas, USA. Cretaceous Research, 31 (2), pp. 274-284.
Longrich, N. R. and Currie, P. J., 2009. A microraptorine (Dinosauria-Dromaeosauridae) from the Late Cretaceous of North America. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106 (13), pp. 5002-5007.
Longrich, N. R. and Currie, P. J., 2009. Albertonykus borealis, a new alvarezsaur (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the early Maastrichtian of Alberta, Canada:Implications for the systematics and ecology of the Alvarezsauridae. Cretaceous Research, 30 (1), pp. 239-252.
Longrich, N., 2009. An ornithurine-dominated avifauna from the Belly River Group (Campanian, Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta, Canada. Cretaceous Research, 30 (1), pp. 161-177.
Longrich, N., 2008. A new, large ornithomimid from the cretaceous dinosaur park formation of Alberta, Canada:Implications for the study of dissociated dinosaur remains. Palaeontology, 51 (4), pp. 983-997.