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 Indiana University Paleontology Collection

Geobiology at Indiana University is a fascinating program with opportunities to satisfy diverse research interests. The Geobiology group at IU strives for excellence in research by integrating paleontology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, and geochemistry to interpret the history of the Earth, especially its biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. Within this framework faculty and students use many resources to reveal the mysteries of fossils and the world of yesterday.

Allens Creek
The bones of Titanoboa cerrejonensis, from the Cerrejón Mine of Colombia were studied by Polly and other members of the Geobiology group to determine its size. Titanoboa lived in a swamp environment in the Paleocene Epoch (58 to 60 million years ago) and is the largest snake now known to have ever lived. MORE

photo copyright 2009, Jason Head

The Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University has a solid foundation in Geobiology. Admired professionals of the past have contributed greatly to the program. A rich history of over 125 years of collections provides a substantive learning environment for any aspiring geobiologist. Research projects of the Geobiology group have included work on calcareous algae, sponges, achaeocyathids, bryzoans, brachiopods, crinoids, chitons, corals, blastoids, bivalves, cephalopods, ostracods, conodonts, trace fossils, dinosaurs, mammals, snakes, and vertebrate footprints.

The present research is focused on coral reefs, vertebrate evolution, the evolution of early humans, early angiosperms, and Cretaceous marine faunas. Specific projects include the study of evolutionary paleontology, paleoecology, paleoclimates, phylogeny, functional morphology, taphonomy, biostratigraphy and biogeography. Specific research in progress by graduate students and faculty includes coral species extinction, paleoecology of Cretaceous faunas, reef ecosystem evolution and the relation of reefs to tropical paleoclimatology and paleoceanography, evolution and paleocommunity dynamics in mammalian carnivores and ungulates, Pleistocene mammal faunas, dinosaur diversity, climatic factors in the evolution of snakes, and evolution of the earliest flowering plants.

The facilities within the department provide great opportunity for excellence in research. The Geobiology section houses the IU Paleontology Collection, with more than a quarter million lots of fossil specimens for research and teaching, including more than 1000 taxonomic type specimens (Access the Collection Database). Students and researchers have access to binocular and S.E.M. microscopes, digital cameras, laser scanners, biogeochemical equipment , and x-ray diffraction facilities. Along with physical access to facilities, the Geobiology group is fortunate to have a wonderful support staff for help in areas such as technology, funding, photography, travel, and much more.

Geobiology group
Members of the Geobiology Group. L-R: Claudia Johnson, Rituparna Bose, Ken O'Donnel, Robin Green, James Morganthein, Katie Nold, Michelle Lawing, and Erle Kauffman. (2010)

In the tradition of interdisciplinary science, the Geobiology group is also involved in research with collegues from other units, including Anthropology, Biology, and Informatics.

Students who are interested in geobiology research may apply for M.S. and Ph.D. programs. Graduate student opportunities may be available in research projects that provide student fee remission and research assistantships.