Mark A. Norell

Curator Emeritus, FARB, Division of Paleontology

Professor Emeritus, Richard Gilder Graduate School



  • Yale University, Ph.D., 1988
  • Yale University, M.Phil, 1986
  • San Diego State University, M.S., 1983
  • California State University, B.S., 1980

Research Interests

Dr. Norell works in several areas of specimen-based and theoretical research. He works on the description and relationships of coelurosaurs and studies elements of the Asian Mesozoic fauna. He analyzes important new "feathered" dinosaurs from Liaoning, China, and develops theoretical methods for better understanding phylogenetic relationships and pattern in the fossil record. Under his co-direction with Michael Novacek, a team of paleontologists working in the Gobi desert since 1990 has produced a wealth of great specimens. This has led to the development of a new phylogenetic hypothesis for coelurosaurian theropods. Similar studies have been carried out on fossil lizards and champsosaurs from this region. Work on these animals has led Dr. Norell's team to discover some aspects of anguimorph phylogeny, to recognize new clades of lizards, to phylogenetically place problematic taxa, and to describe poorly known taxa based on new material. Dr. Norell's theoretical work focuses on developing methodology for evaluating the effect of missing data on large data sets, sensitivity methods for character weighting, and using phylogeny to estimate patterns in the fossil record such as diversity and extinction. He also studies the relationship between stratigraphic position and phylogenetic topology.


Division of Paleontology

Richard Gilder Graduate School

Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries

Traveling the Silk Road

The World's Largest Dinosaurs


For recent publications, please see Dr. Norell's Google Scholar page.

Bhullar, B.-A. S., J. Marugán-Lobón, F. Racimo, G.S. Bever, M.A. Norell, T.B. Rowe and A. Abzhanov. 2012. Birds have paedomorphic dinosaur skulls. Nature.

Brusatte, S.L., R. Butler, A. Prieto Marquez and M.A. Norell. 2012. Dinosaur morphological diversity and the end Cretaceous extinction: were dinosaurs in decline? Nature Communications : 10.1038/ncomms1815 

Tickle, P., M.A. Norell, and J. Codd, Jonathan. 2012. Ventilatory mechanics from early theropods to extant birds. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. doi :10.1111/ j .14 20-9101.2012.02465.x 

Li, Q., K.-Q. Gao, Q. Meng, J.A. Clarke, M.D. Shawkey, L. D’Alba, R. Pei, M. Ellison, M.A. Norell, and J.Vinther. 2012. A new reconstruction of Microraptor and the evolution of iridescent plumage. Science 335(6073):1215-1219.

Prieto-Marquez, A., and M.A. Norell. 2011. Redescription of a nearly complete skull of Plateosaurus longiceps (Dinosauria: Sauropodomorpha) from the Late Triassic of Trossingen (Germany), with a revised taxonomy of the genus. Novitates 3727:1-58. 

Teaching Experience

Faculty Appointments

  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Yale University, 1995-1999
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Yale University, 1991-1995
  • Lecturer, Department of Biology, Yale University, 1989 

Courses Taught

  • Paleobiological methods, CUNY, 1994
  • Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, 1995
  • Dinosaur Biology, Columbia University, 1996
  • Grantsmanship, Ethics and Communications, Richard Gilder Graduate School, 2008

Graduate Advisees

Over 10 students advised, including, in the last 5 years:

  • Shaena Montanari, Richard Gilder Graduate School
  • Stephen Brusatte, Columbia University
  • Alan Turner, Columbia University,
  • Sterling Nesbitt, Columbia University
  • Daniel Ksepka, Columbia University
  • Sunny Hwang, Columbia University
  • Matthew Mihlbacher, Columbia University
  • Diego Pol, Columbia University

Graduate Committees

  • Sterling Nesbitt, Columbia University
  • Alan Turner, Columbia University (chair)
  • Daniel Ksepka, Columbia University (chair)
  • Sunny Hwang, Columbia University (chair)
  • Jun Liu, Columbia University