Dr. Randall Irmis is the Chief Curator and a Curator of Paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Utah and an Associate Professor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics at the University of Utah. Randall grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois and then moved west for university, where he graduated magna cum laude from Northern Arizona University with a BS in Geology (Emphasis in Paleontology) and received his PhD in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008.
Randall’s research asks how vertebrate animals living on land evolved through deep time, particularly in response to climate change and other extrinsic events. Much of his research has focused on the beginning of the age of dinosaurs, the Triassic Period. He is interested in how ecosystems changed during this time, and why dinosaurs become so successful while other animal groups died out? This research has resulted in many field seasons at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, where critical fossils have been found documenting this early time of dinosaur evolution, as well as in similarly aged rocks in Utah, Arizona, Argentina, and Ethiopia. Irmis is also leading a long term field project in the Late Cretaceous of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Utah), where his team is investigating why this area had such unique dinosaur and other vertebrate species 80-75 million years ago, despite a lack of physical barriers.
As a graduate student, Randall was fortunate to receive funding from the Jurassic Foundation, and he is excited to support the next generation of paleontologists as a board member.