The Museum is a state and federal collections repository for paleontological and archaeological materials collected on both public lands and from the private sector. The Museum’s repository is home to hundreds of thousands of artifacts and fossils from southern Nevada. These important materials are preserved, stored, researched and often exhibited at the Museum. Visitors to the Museum are invited to view the Research and Collections Department's work in the Richard Ditton Learning Lab at the Museum.*
*Lab hours vary. Team members may be conducting research in the field, etc. and may close the lab as needed. Please consider scheduling a private Curator Tour if you are interested in an in-depth look at the lab and/or repository at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. Learn More!
Dr. Joshua Bonde, Curator of Paleontology, Research Department Director
Josh Bonde is a born-and-raised Nevadan. His hometown is Fallon, Nevada where he graduated from Churchill County High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno, a Master of Science in Earth Sciences from Montana State University-Bozeman, and his Ph.D. in Geoscience from UNLV. Dr. Bonde was a professor in the UNLV Geoscience Department for 8 years before becoming Curator of Paleontology at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. Dr. Bonde’s research focuses on how ancient mountain building events affect life around the State of Nevada through time, including dinosaurs. Dr. Bonde is a proud dad of his three daughters, Juniper, Willow and Magnolia, and he enjoys birding and fishing.
Lauren Parry, Paleontologist, Natural History Collections Manager
Lauren is a PhD candidate in Geoscience at the University of Nevada Las Vegas who studies Ice Age mammoths and the habitats they lived in. She is particularly interested in how food chains, predators, and climate change could have influenced the extinction of mammoths. Lauren's duties as the Natural History Collections Manager include caring for the Museum’s federal and state paleontology, geology, and biology collections. Lauren grew up in Brooklyn, NY and got her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz in Biology, Geology and Evolutionary Studies. She has completed paleontological fieldwork and lab work on both coasts, but especially loves working in her new home of Nevada.
Laura Benedict, Cultural History Collections Manager and Federal Repository Manager
Laura Benedict is the Cultural History Collections Manager and Federal Repository Manager at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. She maintains the archives of documents and artifacts and prepares collections for approved researchers. She is also a full-time graduate student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, working toward a Master’s degree in Archaeology. Her research focus is on studying past communities through the lens of the animals found at archaeological sites. She is currently identifying animal bones from a site northeast of Las Vegas, and one in southwest New Mexico.
Rebecca Humphrey, Paleontologist
Rebecca is currently a paleontology graduate student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas whose interest include Nevada’s Cretaceous dinosaurs. Her Master’s thesis on identifying a new species of Hadrosaur (duck-bill) dinosaur from the Valley of Fire State Park. Rebecca grew up Wisconsin and received her bachelor of science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Earth and Environmental Science. Her current role at the Museum as the Education Director includes developing and implementing innovative educational programming for school field trips, homeschool workshops, and educational outreach programs. She is passionate about paleontology and using it as a tool to excite and engage people of all walks of life into science and the natural world. Rebecca wants to expand Nevada’s paleontological research and currently has multiple research projects imitated from around the state.