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Center of Excellence in Paleontology
The Center is composed of a large group of researchers, staff, students, technicians, and volunteers from around the globe. All Center members are united by shared objectives and a mission.
The Center and its ETSU and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Visitors Center at Gray Fossil Site serve as a gateway to the University through recruiting students, educating the public, raising funds, and producing high-quality research. As part of the educational and research enterprise of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center, Museum and Fossil Site provide accurate and current information about paleontology and natural history research through excavations, discovery, exhibits, and outreach programs. The Center's Museum is the repository for the college's paleontology collections and is responsible for their care and preservation into perpetuity. The collections are used for exhibits, programming and research.
The Center oversees scientific research at the 4.5 - 7 million year old Gray Fossil
Site (GFS), an extraordinary fossil locality located in the heart of the Appalachians.
While this site serves as the foundation of the Center's research activities, our
projects are highly diverse, ranging from Mio-Pliocene floras and faunas of eastern
North America and Eurasia to Ice Age faunas of the Appalachians and Mexico, to the
paleobiology and evolutionary relationships of Neogene mammals, reptiles, and amphibians
worldwide. Center researchers are highly active in reporting scientific results to
local, national, and international audiences through public events, scientific meetings,
local news outlets, magazines, and leading peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Over the past few years Center members have applied for over $2 million dollars annually for research and education initiatives. Two major projects are currently funded, one that targets GFS plants and paleoclimatic reconstructions (Christopher Liu), and another that focuses on systematic excavations and exploration of the GFS (Steven Wallace and Blaine Schubert). Many smaller grants have also been obtained, including student research grants.
Finally, the Center has been instrumental in developing a paleontology program for ETSU students. This includes a number of undergraduate and graduate level classes (in the departments of Geosciences and Biological Sciences), annual field trips, excavation experiences, and research opportunities. Further, the current graduate paleontology program has fifteen students from all over the country, making it one of the largest and most diverse paleontology programs in existence.
It is my privilege and honor to serve as the Director of this Center. Please contact me if you have any questions...