Staff Spotlight

Dr. Bruce J. MacFadden

Bruce MacFadden portraitCurator of Vertebrate Paleontology
218 Dickinson Hall
Museum Road & Newell Drive
GainesvilleFL 32611



Ph.D. Columbia University, 1976

Florida Museum Vertebrate Paleontology Collection


Concurrent Appointments

Professor of Biology, Geological Sciences, and Latin American Studies


Research Interests

  • Fossil vertebrates, stable isotopes, and global change, with emphasis on paleobiology, macroevolution, and paleoecology of Neogene mammals (particularly herbivores) of the Americas
  • Diagenesis of fossil bones and teeth, including sharks and edentates
  • Informal science education and broader impacts of natural history museums


Collection-related Activities

  • Field work related to active collection-based research projects in Florida, Nebraska, Panama and South America
  • Educational outreach to Florida fossil clubs


Courses Taught

  • ZOO 6927; GLY 6932; Special topics courses, including: PIRE Seminars, VP Research, and Broader Impacts of Science on Society
  • ZOO 6927; Stable Isotopes and Trace Elements in Ecology and Evolution


Graduate Students

Catalina Pimiento, Ph.D. Candidate, Biology
Systematics and paleobiology of late Cenozoic sharks from the Neotropics

Luis Patricio Soto, Ph. D. Candidate, Biology
Systematics and Paleobiology of late Cenozoic sharks from Chile

Sean Moran, M.S. Candidate, Geological Sciences
Microwear and isotopes of middle Miocene horses (Florida, Panama)

Lane Wallett, Ph.D. Veterinary Medicine (Co-chair with Paul Davenport)
Originas and incidence of lamnitis in horses, fossil and modern

Luz Helena, M. S., Journalism and Communications (Co-chair with Debbie Triese)
PIRE Outreach and communications


Representative Publications


MacFadden, B. J., L. H. Oviedo, G. Seymour, and S. Ellis. Fossil horses, orthogenesis, and communicating evolution in museums.Evolution: Education and Outreach. doi 10.1007/s 12052-012-0394-1 (open access).

Rincon, A. F. J. I. Bloch, C. Suarez, B. J. MacFadden, and C. A. Jaramillo. New Floridatragulines (Mammalia, Camelidae from the early Miocene Las Cascadas Formation, Panama. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32:456-475.

MacFadden, B. J., B. A. Purdy, K. Church, and T. W. Stafford, Jr. Humans were contemporaneous with late Pleistocene mammals in Florida: Evidence from rare earth elemental analyses. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, in production.

Cadena, E., J. R. Bourque, A. F. Rincon, J. I. Bloch, C. A. Jaramillo, and B. J. MacFadden. New turtles from the Eocene through middle Miocene of the Panama Canal basin. Journal of PaleontologyJournal of Paleontology. Accepted.

MacFadden, B. J. Involving undergraduates in informal learning experiences. The Paleontological Society, Special Publication, accepted.

Rincon, A. F., J. I. Bloch, B. J. MacFadden, and C. A. Jaramillo. First Central American record of Anthracotheriidae (Mammalia, Bothriodontinae) from the early Miocene of Panama. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, accepted.


Jiménez-Hidalgo, E., R. Guerrero-Arenas, B. J. MacFadden, L. Cabrera-Pérez. The late Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) Viko Vijin Local Fauna from La Mexteca Alta, northwestern Oaxaca, southern Mexico. Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia 14(1):15-28.

Purdy, B. A., Jones, K. S., Mecholsky, J. J., Bourne, G., Hulbert, R. C.,MacFadden, B. J., Church, K. L., Warren, M. W., Jorstad, T. F., Stanford, D. J., Wachowiak, M. J., Speakman, R. J. Earliest Art in the Americas: Incised Image of a Proboscidean on a Mineralized Extinct Animal Bone from Vero Beach, Florida, Journal of Archaeological Science 38:2908-3913. doi: 10.1016/.


Bershaw, J., C.N. Garzione, P. Higgins, B.J. MacFadden, F. Anaya, and H.M.F. Alvarenga. Spatial-temporal changes in Andean plateau climate and elevation from stable isotopes of mammal teeth. Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters. 289:530-538

Schubert, B. W., R. C. Hulbert, Jr., B. J. MacFadden, M. Searle, and S. Searle. Giant short-faced bears (Arctodus simus) in Pleistocene Florida USA, a substantial range extension. Journal of Paleontology 84:79-87.

MacFadden, B.J., M.X. Kirby, A. Rincon, C. Montes, S Moron, N. Strong, and C. Jaramillo. Extinct peccary “Cynorca” occidentale(Tayassuidae, Tayassuinae) from the Miocene of Panama and correlations to North America. Journal of Paleontology 84:288-298.

Mathis, J. and B. J. MacFadden. Quantifying Leptomeryx (Mammalia, Artiodactyla) enamel surface area across the Eocene-Oligocene Transition in Nebraska. Palaios 25:682-687.

MacFadden, B. J., R. G. DeSantis, J. Labs Hochstein, and G. D. Kamenov. Physical properties, geochemistry, and diagenesis of xenarthran teeth: Prospects for interpreting the paleoecology of extinct species. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 291:180-189.

Herrera, F., S. R. Manchester, C. Jaramillo, B. MacFadden, and S. A. da Silva-Caminha. Phytogeographic history and phylogeny of the Humiriaceae. International Journal of Plant Sciences 171:392-408.

Pimiento, C., D.J. Ehret, B.J. MacFadden, and G. Hubbell. Ancient nursery area for the extinct giant shark Megalodon from the Miocene of Peru. PLoS ONE 5:e10552.

Purdy, Barbara A., Kevin S. jones, John J. Mecholsky, Gerald Bourne, Richard C. Hulbert, Jr., Bruce J. MacFadden, Krista L. Church, and Michael W. Warren. Earliest art in the Americas: Incised image of a mammoth on a mineralized extinct animal bone from the old Vero site (8-lr-9), Florida. IFRAO (International Federation of Rock Art Organizations) Congress, September 2010, 12 pp.

Nunez, E. E., B. J. MacFadden, J. I. Mead, and A. Baez. Ancient forest and grasslands in the desert: Diet and habitat of late Pleistocene mammals form northcentral Sonora, Mexico.Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 297:391-400.


Current External Funding

2010-2015 PIRE: Ancient biodiversity and global change in the New World tropics: A once-in-a-century opportunity along the Panama Canal, NSF, OISE 0966884, PI/PD $3,800,001.
2011-2016 Digitization HUB: A collections digitization framework for the 21st Century, NSF, BIO, EF 1115210, Co-PI (Director of Education and Outreach) $10,000,000
2012-2013 Paleocollections digitization workshop, NSF, BIO/EAR, EF 123447, Co-PI (with P. Soltis) $32,000.