David M. Grossnickle

Evolutionary biology - Vertebrate paleontology - Functional morphology - Mammalogy


I'm a PhD candidate in the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, studying in the labs of Zhe-Xi Luo and Kenneth Angielczyk. I'm also a fellow and research associate at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Prior to starting at the University of Chicago, I obtained a master's degree from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from DePauw University.

I'm interested in macroevolution and functional morphology, and my preferred study organisms are extinct and modern mammals. My research has focused on using the functional morphologies of Mesozoic mammals (which lived during the Age of Dinosaurs, 250-66 million years ago) to infer macroevolutionary patterns and major evolutionary transitions.

Teaching & Outreach

Prior to entering graduate school, I taught biology for four years at Wawasee High School in Indiana. I hope to continue to teach, and therefore education remains a central focus as I pursue a career in academia.

I'm an active participant in several Field Museum outreach programs, including Dozin' with the Dinos (right). This program gives children an opportunity to interact with scientists and spend the night at the museum.

During the summers, I assist scientists from the University of Washington (Wilson lab) with paleontological fieldwork in Montana. This also includes helping with the DIG Field School (below), which is a professional development program for K-12 teachers.

The top banner image is from east central Montana, summer 2015. I took the photo while assisting paleontologists from the University of Washington (led by Greg Wilson). Our campsite was especially busy because 30 teachers from had joined us for the DIG Field School. The lake is the Fort Peck Reservoir.