John G. Maisey

Curator-in-Charge Emeritus, Fossil Fish, Division of Paleontology



  • University of London (University College), Ph.D., 1974
  • University of London (University College), D.Phil., 1971
  • University of Exeter, B.Sc., 1970

Research Interests

Sharks are among the most awe-inspiring fishes in the world and they have an ancient pedigree extending more than 400 million years, but we know surprisingly little about their origins and evolution. Dr. Maisey currently leads two independent but related projects in these areas. One of them (supported by National Science Foundation Award No. DEB-1036488) utilizes tomographic scanning and computational segmentation to analyze modern chondrichthyan anatomy, as part of an international project to document the diversity and phylogenetic relationships of modern chondrichthyans ("Collaborative Research: Jaws and Backbone: Chondrichthyan Phylogeny and a Spine for the Vertebrate Tree of Life"). His other project investigates the anatomy and evolutionary relationships of the earliest chondrichthyans. Dr. Maisey is currently studying well preserved fossils from the Devonian of Bolivia, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and from the Carboniferous of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, in collaboration with postdoctoral fellows at the Museum and colleagues in France, Poland, United States, Canada and Australia. An important aspect of both projects is the use of high-resolution tomographic scanning at AMNH and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, to compare the anatomy of extinct and modern chondrichthyans. His findings challenge traditional views about jawed vertebrate evolution and suggest that modern chondrichthyans are anatomically far more advanced than was previously supposed.


Division of Paleontology

Richard Gilder Graduate School


2014   Maisey, J.G. The diversity of tessellated calcification in modern and extinct chondrichthyans. Revues de Paleobiologie. (In press)

2013   Maisey, J.G. & V.G. Springer. Chondrocranial morphology of the salmon shark, Lamna ditropis, and the porbeagle, L. nasus. Copeia 2013 (3): 378–389

2013   Maisey, J.G., S. Turner, G.J.P. Naylor & R Miller. Dental patterning in the earliest sharks: implications for tooth evolution. Journal of Morphology doi: 10.1002/jmor.20242

2012   Maisey, J.G. What is an ‘elasmobranch'? The impact of palaeontology in understanding elasmobranch phylogeny and evolution. Journal of Fish Biology 80(5): 918–951

2012   Lane, J.A. & J.G. Maisey. The visceral skeleton and jaw suspension in the durophagous hybodontid shark Tribodus limae from the Lower Cretaceous of Brazil. Journal of Paleontology 86(5): 886-905. 

2011   Maisey, J.G. The braincase of the Middle Triassic shark Acronemus tuberculatus (Bassani 1886). Palaeontology 54 (2): 417–428 

2011   Pradel, A., P. Tafforeau, J.G. Maisey & P. Janvier. A New Paleozoic Symmoriiformes (Chondrichthyes) from the Late Carboniferous of Kansas (USA) and Cladistic Analysis of Early Chondrichthyans. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24938. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024938

Teaching Experience

Faculty Appointments

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology and Doctoral faculty of the Graduate School and University Center, CUNY, 1990 

Courses Taught

  • Comparative Biology, RGGS/AMNH, 2013, 2014
  • Vertebrate Paleontology, RGGS/AMNH, 2012
  • Directed Reading (Jennifer Lane), CUNY, 2004-2005
  • Comparative anatomy and evolution of fishes, CUNY, 1994- 1995
  • Lectures on the principles of cladistic analysis and biogeography, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 1992
  • Tutorial sessions in Paleoichthyology, CUNY, 1990
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Ichthyology, University of Guelph, Ontario, 1990
  • NYU course in Ichthyology, AMNH, Dept. of Ichthyology, 1981, 1987
  • Courses in Geology, Geography, Vertebrate Zoology; St. Albans College, 1978-1979
  • Lecturer, Geology, St. Albans College, Hertfordshire, England, l976-l979
  • Geology, Paleontology; Open University tutorials, 1977-1978, 1976-1977
  • Vertebrate Paleontology; Dept. of Geology, University of Exeter, 1974-1975
  • Demonstrator, Geology, University of Exeter, Devonshire, England, l973-l975
  • General Paleontology; Dept. of Geology, University of Exeter, 1973-1974 
  • Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy; Dept. Zoology & Comparative Anatomy, University College, London, 1971-1972
  • General Paleontology; Geology Dept., Polytechnic of North London, 1970-1972
  • Demonstrator, Zoology Department, University College London, England, l970-l972
  • Lecturer, Geology, Polytechnic of North London, 1970-1972 

Graduate Advisees


Graduate Committees

  • Rafael Matos Lindoso, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (primary co-advisor)
  • Jennifer Lane, CUNY (primary advisor)
  • Todd Cook, University of Alberta
  • M. H. Hamel, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris
  • M. S. S. Carvalho, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro