Michael J. Novacek
Senior Vice President, Provost, Curator
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1978 "Evolution and Relationships of the Leptictidae (Eutheria: Mammalia)"
Dr. Novacek's studies concern patterns of evolution and relationships among organisms, particularly mammals. His interests have ranged from paleontological evidence to new data on DNA sequences. He has led paleontological expeditions to Baja California, Mexico; the Andes Mountains of Chile; and the Yemen Arab Republic in search of fossil mammals and dinosaurs. He also is one of the team leaders of the joint American Museum of Natural History/Mongolian Academy of Sciences ongoing expeditions to the Gobi Desert, begun in 1990. The Mongolian expeditions marked the first return of a Western scientific team to the country in over sixty years and have received worldwide scientific and public attention for their spectacular findings. In 1993, Dr. Novacek was one of the discoverers of the Gobi's Ukhaa Tolgod, the richest Cretaceous fossil vertebrate site in the world. In 1999, he started a series of expeditions to Patagonia, Argentina, to research dinosaurs, mammals, and other fossils.
As Senior Vice President and Provost, Dr. Novacek provides leadership to the curatorial staff and advises the President on the direction of scientific research at the Museum. He also has oversight of the Museumís Exhibition program. Dr. Novacek was instrumental in establishing the Museum's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, Institute for Comparative Genomics, and new research program in astrophysics. In 2006, the State Board of Education authorized the Museum to establish the first PhD program of any museum in the nation.
Dr. Novacek is the author of more than 200 titles, including articles in the international scientific journals Science and Nature. He has also authored popular books on the Gobi expeditions, Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs (1996) and on his experiences in the field, Time Traveler (2002) (each recognized as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year). He is also a contributor to Natural History, Scientific American, The Smithsonian, and Time magazine, and his research has been widely covered by the print and electronic media. His research has been supported by many agencies, including the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, The Sloan Foundation, The Eppley Foundation, and the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In recognition of his worldwide explorations, he received the Roy Chapman Andrews Society Distinguished Explorerís Award for 2003 and the Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorerís Club in 2005. He received Honorary Doctorates from Long Island University in 1996 and Beloit College in 2006.
RECENT SIGNIFICANT PUBLICATIONS
Falkowski, P.G., Katz, M.E., Milligan, A.J., Fennel, K., Cramer, B.S., Aubry, M-P, Berner, R.A., Novacek, M.J., and Zapol, W.M. 2005. The rise of oxygen over the past 205 million years and the evolution of large placental mammals. Science, 309: pp2202-2204.
Wible, J.R., Rougier, G.W, and Novacek, M.J. 2005. Anatomical evidence for superordinal/ordinal eutherian taxa in the Cretaceous. pp15-36 in K.D. Rose and J.D. Archibald (eds), The Rise of Placental Mammals: Origins and Relationships of the Major Extant Clades. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.
Asher, R.J., Meng, J., Wible, J.R., McKenna, M.C., Rougier, G.W., Dashzeveg, D., and Novacek, M.J. 2005. Stem Lagormorpha and the antiquity of Glires. Science, 307: 1091-1094.
O'Leary, M.A., Allard, M., Novacek, M.J., Meng, J., and Gatesy, J. 2004. Building the mammalian sector of the Tree of Life: combing different data and a discussion of divergence times for placental mammals. pp 490-516 in J. Cracraft and M.J. Donoghue (eds), Assembling the Tree of Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Rougier, G.W., Wible, J.R., and Novacek, M.J. 2004. New specimen of Deltatheroides cretacicus (Metatheria, Deltatheroida) from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia. Bulletin of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 36: pp245-266.
Wible, J.R., Novacek, M.J., and Rougier, G.W. 2004. New data on the skull and dentition in the Mongolian Late Cretaceous eutherian mammal Zalamdalestes. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 281: pp1-144.
Rougier, G.W., Ji, Q., and Novacek, M.J. 2003. A new symmetrodont mammal with fur impressions from the Mesozoic of China. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition), 77: pp7-14.
O'Leary, M.A., Gatesey, J.,and Novacek, M.J. 2003. Are the dental data really at odds with the molecular data? Morphological evidence for whale phylogeny (re)reexamined. Systematic Biology, 56(6): pp853-864.
Asher, R.J., Novacek, M.J., and Geisler, J.H. 2003. Relationships of endemic African mammals and their fossil relatives based on morphological and molecular evidence. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 10(1-2): pp131-194.
Flynn, J.J., Novacek, M.J., Dodson, H.E., Frassinetti, D., McKenna, M.C., Norell, M.A., Sears, K.E., Swisher, Carl C. III, and Wyss, A.R. 2002. A new fossil assemblage from the southern Chilean Andes: implications for geology, geochronology, and tectonics. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 15(3): pp285-302.
Novacek, M. J. "Character Distributions Are Phylogenetic Evidence." Paleobiology 27, no. 1 (2001): 172-173.
Novacek, M. J. "Mammalian Phylogeny: Genes and Supertrees." Current Biology 11 (2001): R573-575.
Novacek, M. J., and E. Cleland. "The Current Biodiversity Extinction Event: Scenarios for Mitigation and Recovery." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98 (2001): 5466-5470.
Allard, M. W., R. L. Honeycutt, and M. J. Novacek. "Advances in Higher Level Mammalian Relationships." Cladistics 15 (1999): 213-219.
Novacek, M. J. "100 Million Years of Land Vertebrate Evolution: The Cretaceous-Early Tertiary Transition." Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 86 (1999): 230-258.
Novacek, M. J. Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs. New York: Anchor/Doubleday, 1996.
Novacek, M. J. "Paleontological Data and the Study of Adaptation." In Adaptation, ed. M. R. Rose and G. V. Lauder, 311-359. San Diego: Academic Press, 1996.
Dashzeveg, D., M. J. Novacek, M. A. Norell, J. M. Clark, L. M. Chiappe, A. Davidson, M. C. McKenna, L. Dingus, C. Swisher, P. Altangerl. "Extraordinary Preservation in a New Vertebrate Assemblage from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia." Nature 374 (1995): 446-449.
EDITORIAL AND ADJUNCT APPOINTMENTS
OTHER PROFESSIONAL HONORS
POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS, GRADUATE STUDENTS, AND SCIENTIFIC ASSISTANTS