Our Upcoming Speaker

Note: During the COVID-19 Pandemic our meetings are being held using the Zoom web app. Invitations will be sent to members and visitors on request by email

MONDAY JULY 11, 2022 AT 7:00 PM Central Time USA


Title: "Paleozoic Vertebrates of Alabama: A Field Guide"

Speaker: Ryan Shell, PhD


   The Paleozoic Era consists of the first third of the Phanerozoic Eon. During this time, vertebrates evolved from more primitive deuterostomes and several major groups that are still alive today appeared: the chondrichthyans, actinopterygians, and tetrapods. The rocks exposed in the northern half of Alabama all preserve a sedimentological record of this time, especially the Carboniferous Period- which in the United States is broken up into the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian Subperiods and occurred from 358 to 298 million years ago. This talk will serve as a discussion of fossil vertebrates already known from the state, with photos of their fossils directly from Alabama’s many fossil localities. It is hoped that this material will provide a resource for amateurs and professionals who may encounter the remains of these animals in the field. There will also be a discussion on the frontiers of professional research on paleozoic vertebrates in Alabama.


   My name is Ryan Shell. I completed BS in geology at the University of Arkansas and my PhD in vertebrate paleontology at Wright State University. As a researcher I’m affiliated with the Cincinnati Museum Center’s vertebrate paleontology department, and I publish mostly on the ecology and systematics of paleozoic sharks and the biomechanics of ancient cephalopods. I have taught at Wright State University,the University of Dayton, and worked in the field of land/resource management at the US Forest Service. I am on the steering committee for an upcoming journal called Open PALeontology, and serving as a guest editor for a special volume of the journal Diversity. Professionally I am working for a small state agency in Ohio that manages a series of urban and forested parks in western part of the state, though like many paleontologists, I am seeking other opportunities wherever I can find them.