Latest Publications
(for full list, see Research Publications)


Reisz, R. R., Evans, D. C, Roberts, E. M., Sues, H-D., Yates, A. M. (2012) Oldest known dinosaurian nesting site and the reproductive biology of the Early Jurassic sauropodomorph Massospondylus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 109: 2428-2433 (PNAS-weekly highlight)

Frobisch, N. B. and Reisz R. R. (2012) A new species of dissorophid (Cacops woehri) from the Lower Permian Dolese Quarry, near Richards Spur, Oklahoma. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32: 35-44.

Tsuji, L. A., Müller, J., and Reisz, R. R. (2012) Anatomy of Emeroleter levis and the phylogeny of the nycteroleter parareptiles. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32: 45-67.

Modesto, S., Smith, R., Campione, N., and Reisz, R. R. (2011) The last “pelycosaur”: a varanopid synapsid from the Pristerognathus Assemblage Zone, Middle Permian of South Africa. Naturwissenschaften 98: 1027-1034. (with cover illustration)

Reisz, R. R., Scott, D., and Modesto, S. P. (2011) A new Early Permian reptile and its significance in early diapsid evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B. 278: 3731-3737.

Benson, R. B. J., Domokos, G, Varkonyi, P. L., and Reisz, R. R. (2011) Shell geometry and habitat determination in extinct and extant turtles (Reptilia:Testudinata) Paleobiology 37(4): 547-562.

Lab Personnel

Robert R. Reisz

B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.

I first became interested in fossils during my third year of studies at McGill University, when I took a course with Dr. Robert Carroll on Vertebrate Paleontology. Since I did not grow up being fascinated by dinosaurs, I became interested instead in the early stages of terrestrial vertebrate evolution. Since the oldest known amniotes have been recovered from Palaeozoic sediments in Nova Scotia, Canada, this field of study appeared quite appropriate. Palaeozoic amniotes represent the first successful adaptation of vertebrates to a fully terrestrial mode of life. They are at the base of subsequent adaptive radiations that eventually gave rise to modern reptiles, birds and mammals. Their fossil remains therefore provide a unique opportunity for studies of the origin and adaptive radiation of all amniotes.

Like most vertebrate paleontologists, I am very fond of fossils, and greatly enjoy the field aspect of my specialty. This has taken me to various regions of the world, including numerous sites in Canada, the USA, Russia, and South Africa.

Although the main focus of research is on Palaeozoic synapsids, I continue to be interested in both anamniotes and amniotes of the Palaeozoic. Recently, I have been pulled "downward" into a number of projects on Devonian lungfishes (especially because of their peculiar pattern of dental development), and "upward" into some projects on dinosaurs (projects on Massospondylus and Coelophysis).

For more information on current research in my lab, see the Research Page.

For a complete list of my scientific papers, see the Publications Page

I can be reached at robert.reisz _at_utoronto.ca (replace _at_ with @).

For information about undergraduate study in Biology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, click here.

For information about graduate studies in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, click here.




Diane Scott

Research Associate Extraordinaire

With over 25 years experience in this lab, Diane remains fairly sane. Apart from arguing all the facts, she also does such tasks as: preparing and analyzing fossils, drawing and reconstructing specimens, as well as photography and computer graphics. These techniques are also passed on to any student who willingly enters the lab. Currently involved in who knows how many projects, she hopes to have them completed before she retires or fossilizes.




Jessica Hawthorn

Graduate Student

Jessica completed her B.Sc. in Paleontology and M.Sc. in Systematics and Evolution at the University of Alberta. Her undergraduate honors thesis, supervised by Dr. Michael Caldwell, dealt with the anatomy and systematics of the Jurassic squamates Eichstaettisaurus and Ardeosaurus. Jessica's M.Sc. research was completed in Dr. Mark Wilson's lab, and her thesis addressed the classification, phylogeny, and distribution of poraspidine heterostracans. She also spent some of her time in the Wilson lab working on growth in osteostracans. Jessica's Ph.D. research topic will be the phylogenetics and ecology of ophiacodontid eupelycosaurs.



Kirstin Brink

Graduate Student

Kirstin completed her B.Sc. in Biology and Earth Sciences at the University of Alberta in 2006. Her undergraduate research projects included work on fossil conifers from Vancouver Island (Cunninghamia hornbyensis) and fossil isopods from Morocco. Following her B.Sc. Kirstin worked at the Royal Tyrrell Museum as a technician before obtaining her M.Sc. at the University of Calgary with Dr. Darla Zelenitsky on growth of the crest of the lambeosaurine dinosaur Hypacrosaurus stebingeri. Her Ph.D. research will investigate the growth and systematics of sphenacodontid synapsids with a focus on Dimetrodon.



Nicolas Campione

Graduate Student

Nic received his B.Sc. from Carleton University in Ottawa, where he completed his Honours Thesis on the homologies of the syncervical in ceratopsid dinosaurs. Nic joined the Reisz lab in 2006 where he completed a Masters research project in 2008, re-describing a Permian varanopid synapsid from Texas, Varanops brevirostris. Nic has extended his stay in Toronto and is now working on a Ph.D. co-supervised by Dr. David Evans at the Royal Ontario Museum and Robert. His project regards the systematics and diversity of Late Cretaceous hadrosaurines, and the evolution of body size in ornithopod dinosaurs.



Caleb Brown

Graduate Student

Caleb earned both is Hon. B.Sc. in Zoology and M.Sc. in Vertebrate Palaeontology from the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Anthony P. Russell. For his undergraduate research, Caleb examined patterns of growth in the frill of centrosaurine (horned) dinosaurs. His M.Sc thesis investigated the taxonomy and occurrence of Thescelosaurus and other basal ornithopod dinosaurs from western Canada. For his Ph.D research he is returning to centrosaurines to explore aspects of their radiation and cranial ornamentation under the supervision of both Dr. Robert Reisz and Dr. David Evans of the ROM.



Mark MacDougall

Graduate Student

Mark completed his B.Sc in Biology with Honours at Cape Breton University in 2010. During his undergraduate degree he studied parareptiles for several summers supervised by Dr. Sean Modesto, which lead to his undergraduate thesis dealing with the study of new material of the Early Triassic parareptile Sauropareion anoplus and its implications for the early evolution of the Procolophonidae. His Ph.D research continues to concentrate on parareptiles, specifically looking at the evolution and diversification of the unique and diverse Early Permian parareptile fauna found at the Richards Spur locality in Oklahoma, USA.



Aaron LeBlanc

Graduate Student

Aaron completed his honours B.Sc. in paleontology and M.Sc. in Systematics and Evolution at the University of Alberta. His undergraduate honours thesis described a new genus and species of mosasaur (giant marine lizards) from the Cretaceous phosphate deposits of Morocco. His M.Sc. work was supervised by Dr. Michael Caldwell and built on this initial description by providing a more comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the subfamily Mosasaurinae along with a review of aquatic adaptation within derived members of the group. For his Ph.D. project, Aaron looks at dental anatomy, histology, and development in non-mammalian amniotes.



Farcical Version

Click here for the original version of this page, complete with farcical text and completely inappropriate clip-art representations of ourselves. Corwin tossed it together as a temporary "mock-up" of the eventual layout, but because everyone who sees it seems to get a kick out of it we decided to keep it around on a permanent basis.