Florida Museum of Natural History

Vertebrate Paleontology Graduate Student

Alex K. Hastings

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alex hastings

Ph.D. Candidate in Geology
222 Dickinson Hall
Museum Road & Newell Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 273-1821
Email: akh@ufl.edu

B.S. in Geosciences, Penn State University, 2005

Research Interests

Broadly speaking, I am interested in questions regarding paleobiogeography, ecology, cladistics, and functional morphology, particularly of crocodilians. The order Crocodylomorpha is represented today by a fairly conservative body plan, yet in the fossil record crocodilians had a remarkable diversity not only in number of species, but occupying numerous ecological roles, completely different from their modern relatives. Crocodilians are also intimately connected to climate, and as such are useful indicators of paleoenvironment. I am also interested in evolutionary turnover and replacement of large clades within a broader evolutionary context, especially within Crocodylomorpha.

Dissertation Title

Early Paleogene Crocodyliform Evolution in the Neotropics: Evidence from Northeastern Colombia

Primary Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jonathan I. Bloch

My dissertation project involves the description, analysis, and taxonomy of three new crocodyliforms from a new site in northeastern Colombia. Following these three these three papers, I will analyze the new material using geometric morphometrics in order to determine their paleoecological roles via comparison to modern crocodyliforms of known ecology. This will help explain the preferential survivorship of dyrosaurid crocodyilforms across the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event. All of this will contribute to the broader understanding of tropical crocodilian ecology where modern crocodilian diversity is at its highest.

Representative Publications

Hastings, A.K., J.I. Bloch, and C.A. Jaramillo. 2011. A New longirostrine dyrosaurid (Crocodylomorpha, Mesoeucrocodylia) from the Paleocene of North-Eastern Colomba: biogeographic and behavioural implications for New-World Dyrosauridae. Palaeontology, 54(5):10951116.

Hastings, A.K. 2011. Pantherophis alleghaniensis (Eastern Rat Snake) Diet. Herpetological Review, 41(3):371.

Hastings, A.K., J.I. Bloch, E.A. Cadena, and C.A. Jaramillo. 2010. A new small short-snouted dyrosaurid (Crocodylomorpha, Mesoeucrocodylia) from the Paleocene of Northeastern Colombia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 30(1):139162.

Head, J. J., J. I. Bloch, A. K. Hastings, J. R. Bourque, E. A. Cadena, F. A. Herrera, P. D. Polly, and C. A. Jaramillo. 2009. Giant boid snake from the Paleocene neotropics reveals hotter past equatorial temperatures. Nature 457:715-718.

Hastings, A., J. Bloch, and R. Hulbert. 2006. Evidence for a prehensile tail in a late Pliocene porcupine skeleton from north-central Florida. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26(3, Suppl.):73A.

Grants, Honors, and Awards Received

2010, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Grant

2010, Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Corps Student Presentation Award

2010, Gary S. Morgan Student Research Award

2009, University of Florida, Department of Geological Sciences, Nichol Award

2008, Doris O. and Samuel P. Welles Research Fund Student Travel Grant

2007, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Student Travel Grant

2007, 2008, & 2009, University of Florida Graduate Student Council Travel Grant

2007, Geological Society of America Graduate Student Research Grant

2006, R. Jerry Britt, Jr. Paleobiology Award

2006, Ken Ericson Scholarship

2006, Southwest Florida Fossil Club Student Scholarship