Research Interests

Broadly trained as an ecologist and evolutionary biologist, I use insights from living animals to inform paleontological inferences, and seek clues in extinct ecosystems to predict our future. My work so far follows three directions:

 

Macroecology and Macroevolution of North American fossil carnivores

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The Late Pleistocene at La Brea Tar Pits

The Late Pleistocene of North America is well known for its large mammals: charismatic megafauna, like saber-toothed cats and giant ground sloths, that went extinct approximately 10,000 years ago. We're lucky to have one of the best Late Pleistocene deposits--the La Brea Tar Pits--right here in Los Angeles. Over the past decade, I have returned to the Tar Pits for various research questions.

My MS thesis at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, quantified diet among the mammalian carnivores at the Tar Pits in an attempt to determine how such a diverse predator assemblage was able to coexist. During my doctorate, collaborators and I used the Tar Pits' sizable paleopathology collection to quantify how two of the large carnivores--the saber-toothed cat and the dire wolf--differed in hunting strategy. I also supervised an undergraduate research project

Borophagus, an extinct bone-cracking dog

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