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David Bottjer News

<em>Eotiaris guadalupensis</em> fossil discovered by Jeffrey Thompson in the Smithsonian collections. Image courtesy of David Bottjer.

Oldest Urchin

November 9, 2015

Researchers have uncovered a sea urchin fossil that pushes back a fork in its family tree by 10 million years, according to a new study. A team from USC Dornsife found the fossil — Eotiaris guadalupensis — in…

The tiny fossil sponge was just 1.2 millimeters in width, seen here in a high-resolution scanning electron microscope image. Photo courtesy of Zongjun Yin/Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology.

Fossil Upsets Evolutionary Model

July 7, 2015

Researchers have unearthed a fossil of a sponge, no bigger than a grain of sand, that existed 60 million years earlier than many expected. This is the first time paleontologists have found a convincing fossil sponge specimen…

USC Dornsife’s David Bottjer (right) receives the 2014 Moore Medal for Excellence in Paleontology from Evan Franseen, president of the Society for Sedimentary Geology, during a ceremony in Houston, Texas, April 8. Photo by Gary Barchfeld.

Bottjer Earns Top Paleontology Award

April 15, 2014

Recognized for his outstanding contributions to the fields of paleobiology and paleoecology, USC Dornsife’s David Bottjer has earned a prestigious award from the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), an international,…

USC Dornsife alumna Sarah Greene, who earned a Ph.D. in geological studies in 2011, and Rowan Martindale, a doctoral candidate in earth sciences, contributed to a recent study that looks at geological records for evidence that mass extinction events may have been caused by ocean acidification.

Earth's Past Is Warning for the Future

March 6, 2012

When the Earth’s carbon dioxide level increased at a rapid rate during the Triassic-Jurassic period 200 million years ago, nearly half the ocean’s marine life became extinct. USC Dornsife geologists contributed to…

USC Dornsife's David Bottjer is searching for clues to the future by examining the past. Photo by Philip Channing.

And the Microbes Shall Inherit the Earth

October 12, 2011

Global warming is not a novel phenomenon, and by studying what happened to the planet during a period of global warming about 250 million years ago, one USC Dornsife scientist hopes to discover what could happen to us this…

The sea cliffs near Lyme Regis, one of the locations in England where a team from the USC College Department of Earth Sciences searched for stromatolites. Photo credit Frank Corsetti.

Stories Set in Stone

January 19, 2011

When four members of the USC College Department of Earth Sciences took a fieldwork expedition to the United Kingdom, they didn’t have to venture out in the middle of nowhere, drive on dirt roads for hours or hike miles…