Transantarctic Vertebrate Paleontology Project    

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith


Graduate Research Assistant

Nate Smith grew up in Crystal Lake, Illinois and received his B.A. in Biology with a minor in Geology from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He received his M.S. in Geoscience at the University of Iowa in 2005 and has since been pursuing a Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. His research focuses on the evolution and biogeography of early dinosaurs. Anatomical descriptions and phylogenetic analysis of the fossil vertebrates from the Hanson Formation of Antarctica have played a major role in this work, and are providing considerable insight into the evolution of Antarctic faunas. Much of what is known about Late Triassic and Early Jurassic faunas comes with a heavy geographical bias, with faunas in North America and Europe having been studied more intensely than Gondwanan faunas. The sedimentary sequence preserved in the Central Transantarctic Mountains provides a rare glimpse of what terrestrial communities were like at high paleolatitudes during these times, and may ultimately allow researchers to more rigorously address questions concerning the tempo and mode of early dinosaur evolution. In addition to participating in the 2003-2004 expedition to the Beardmore Glacier region in Antarctica, Nate has conducted paleontological fieldwork in Argentina, China, and the Southwestern and Western United States. Website

Email contact: smithnd at

Augustana College