Meet the Curator
Christopher J. Raxworthy,
Associate Curator, Department of Herpetology, Division of Vertebrate Zoology, and Curator, Frogs: A Chorus of Colors
Christopher J. Raxworthy's research focuses on Old World reptile and amphibian systematics and biogeography, especially the study of family relationships among species of chameleons. His work has provided new information on the historical process of reptile species formation in Madagascar and has helped policymakers set priorities for conservation planning. When he began his research there in 1985 as a leader of a student expedition, only about 370 species of Malagasy reptiles and amphibians had been identified. Since then Dr. Raxworthy in collaboration with others has found (and is now describing) more than 150 new species and has added a wealth of information to the published literature on known species. The chameleon systematics project includes field surveys in remote, mountainous areas of northern Madagascar, many of which have never been previously explored or surveyed. Dr. Raxworthy also has conducted fieldwork in Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Seychelles, Turkey, and Vietnam. Research based on Asian and African fieldwork is helping him search for historical links between frogs and reptiles from before Madagascar and India carried away their own parts of the Gondwanan supercontinent. His broader research interests include the applications of geographic information systems (GIS) for identifying the geographic distribution of reptile species, findings that are useful to setting conservation priorities. Dr. Raxworthy received a B.S. in zoology from the Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London, England, in 1985 and a Ph.D. in biology from the Open University, Milton Keynes, England, in 1989. He joined the Museum as an associate curator in 2000. He is an adjunct research scientist at Columbia University, an adjunct research investigator at the University of Michigan, and an external lecturer at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Read an interview transcript.
Darrel R. Frost, Curator, Department of Herpetology, Division of Vertebrate Zoology
Darrel R. Frost studies the evolutionary origin and diversification of reptiles and amphibians and examines issues related to the grounds of knowledge in evolutionary biology. Dr. Frost also studies the notion of species in systematic biology and evaluates ways to effectively combine molecular and morphological data. He maintains a comprehensive online taxonomic catalog of the world's living amphibians. Dr. Frost started to develop this project in 1980 and continuously updates this online reference to make it eminently useful to professional herpetologists. He has formulated a revised classification for the entire group of New World lizards called Iguania, comprising about 1,000 species in the Americas, Madagascar, Fiji, and Tonga. Dr. Frost received a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona in 1972, an M.S. in Zoology from Louisiana State University in 1978, and a Ph.D. in Systematics and Ecology from the University of Kansas in 1988. He joined the American Museum of Natural History in 1990. He is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and an adjunct professor at the City University of New York.