Grimaldi, David main content.

David Grimaldi


Curator, Amber, Diptera, Isoptera, Lepidoptera, Holometabolous Minor Order Collections
Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School

Curriculum Vitae (short version)


  • Cornell University, Ph.D., 1986
  • SUNY Binghamton, M.Sc., 1983
  • University of Connecticut, B.Sc., 1979

Research Interests

Dr. Grimaldi’s research addresses 400 million years of insect evolutionary history, from species-level diversity in drosophilid and other flies, to the earliest Devonian fossil hexapods.  He is particularly interested in fossils preserved in amber and in the paleobiology of fossilized resins, and has developed the world’s most scientifically important collection of amber fossils.  He has conducted field work on five continents in over 40 countries, collecting Recent species and excavating fossils.  Research is primarily based on morphology, which is analyzed phylogenetically for optimal interpretation of evolutionary patterns and past events.  Other specific interests include the nature of evolutionary radiations, the role of paleoclimate in evolution, the origins and evolution of modern tropical forest ecosystems; science writing, illustration and imaging, and the history of science.

Please contact Dr. Grimaldi if you are interested in borrowing Amber, Diptera, Isoptera, Lepidoptera, Mecopterida, Neuropterida or other Holometabolous minor orders, or visiting these parts of the collection.


Grimaldi, D. and J. Cumming.  1999.  Brachyceran Diptera in Cretaceous ambers and Mesozoic diversification of the Eremoneura. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 239:124 pp.

Grimaldi, D. and T. Nguyen. 1999.  Monograph on the spittlebug flies, genus Cladochaeta (Diptera: Drosophilidae: Cladochaetini). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 241:  326 pp.

Grimaldi, D. (editor and contributor) 2000. Studies on Fossils in Amber, with Particular Reference to the Cretaceous of New Jersey.  Leiden:  Backhuys Publ., 510 pp.

Grimaldi, D. and D. Agosti.  2000.  A formicine in Cretaceous amber (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and early evolution of the ants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 97: 13678-13683.

Grimaldi, D., M.S. Engel, and P. Nascimbene.  2002.  Fossiliferous Cretaceous amber from Burma (Myanmar):  its rediscovery, biotic diversity, and paleontological significance. American Museum Novitates 3361: 71 pp.

Engel, M.S. and D. Grimaldi. 2004.  New light shed on the oldest insect. Nature 427: 627-630.

Grimaldi, D. and M. S. Engel.  2005. Evolution of the Insects.  New York/Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  xv + 755 pp.

Blagoderov, V., D. Grimaldi, and N. Fraser. 2006.  How time flies for flies:  Diverse Diptera (Insecta) from the Late Triassic of eastern North America.  American Museum Novitates 3572:  39 pp.

Rust, J. H. Singh, R. S. Rana, T. McCann, L. Singh, K. Anderson, N. Sarkar, P. C. Nascimbene, F. Gerdes, J. C. Thomas, M. Solórzano-Kraemer, C. J. Williams, M. S. Engel, A. Sahni, and D. Grimaldi.  2010.  Biogeographic and evolutionary implications of a diverse paleobiota in amber from the Early Eocene of India. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 107 (43): 18360-18365.

Krishna, K., D. Grimaldi, M. S. Engel, and V. Krishna. 2012. Treatise on the Isoptera of the World. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, in press, 2500 ms pp. 

Teaching Experience

Faculty Appointments

  • Adjunct Professor, CUNY (Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), 1988-present
  • Adjunct Professor, Cornell University (Department of Entomology), 1994-present
  • Adjunct Professor, Columbia University (Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology), 1995-present
  • Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School, American Museum of Natural History

Courses Taught

  • Insect Diversity, Columbia University

Graduate Advisees

  • Phil Barden, Richard Gilder Graduate School
  • Isabelle Vea, Richard Gilder Graduate School

Graduate Committees

  • Torsten Dikow (Cornell University, now at Field Museum, Chicago)
  • Ansel Payne (RGGS)
  • Carly Tribull (RGGS)
  • Stephanie Loria (RGGS)

External Links