(702) 384–DINO (3466)
900 Las Vegas Blvd North
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Research Associates

Frankie Jackson, Ph.D.

Frankie Jackson is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Montana State University. Her research interests include the study of fossil eggs, paleoecology, and the evolution of reproductive traits within the dinosaur-to-bird transition.  The arrangement of fossil eggs and the microscopic characteristics of their eggshells provide important information about dinosaur physiology and reproductive biology. In addition, studying the sedimentary deposits that preserve the eggs permits more accurate interpretations of the nesting behavior extinct animals. Currently, her research focuses on modern nesting sites (crocodilians, tortoises, and birds) and fossil egg localities in the western United States and southeast China.  

Aubrey Bonde, Ph.D.

Aubrey Bonde is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she zigzagged across the States pursuing opportunities to study paleontology.  Aubrey began my academic career working on dinosaurs from the Hell Creek formation as well as within Badlands National Park on Oligocene mammals.  She later switched her focus to invertebrates (crustaceans), for a short time, which allowed her to travel and study in Eastern Europe, particularly Romania.  Exposure to both invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology afforded Aubrey the opportunity to understand and appreciate the two fields, but also guided her to the realization that she most enjoyed studying mammals.  All these experiences led her to Las Vegas where she culminated her academics researching late Pleistocene megafauna. Aubrey is interested in identifying the changing fauna, environments, and climate of the Southwest during the last glacial period, specifically 40,000-11,500 years ago.  This period of time had profound impacts on global ecosystems, in particular, large mammalian faunas which are no longer in existence today.  One of the research techniques she use is stable isotope analysis which uncovers specific information unique to an individual animal, such as the type of vegetation they consumed, water they ingested, and tendency to move seasonally.  This technique also contributes information at the community and regional level, including reconstruction of climate and environment, and the interactions between organisms within an assemblage – partitioning and competition.  Combined, all of these parameters yield a large-scale reconstruction of the paleoecology and paleoenvironments of past landscapes.  The particular group that she focuses her research on is megaherbivores from the late Pleistocene – ground sloths, mammoth, horse, bison, deer, and shrub ox.

James Schmitt, Ph.D.

James Schmitt is Professor of Geology in the Department of Earth Sciences at Montana State University with research interests in sedimentary geology that include understanding: 1) relations between tectonics and sedimentation in foreland and extensional basins, 2) tectonic controls on the dispersal of sediment from orogenic belts to alluvial basins, and 3) the sedimentology and facies analysis of modern alluvial fans and ancient alluvial fan deposits. His research in vertebrate paleontology includes investigating the taphonomy of bone beds and dinosaur nesting grounds, deciphering processes of exceptional fossil preservation, and paleoenvironmental reconstruction of fossil-bearing strata.  Schmitt has a Bachelor of Science degree In Geology and Mineralogy from the University of Michigan (1977) and both Master’s (1979) and Doctoral degrees (1982) in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Wyoming.