2004 Romer Prize Recipient
I grew up in Lund, Sweden, and my first encounter with fossils — apart from the regular library dino-books — was trilobites that I found as a nine-year-old on the shores of the island of Gotland (Sweden). I completed a BSc and a MSc. in paleontology and historical geology in 1997 at Lund University. However, I also worked as a scientific artist's apprentice and I attended preparatory art school during this time. My master's thesis was on Silurian conodonts from Gotland, but my interest in paleontology and evolution has mainly been in the terrestrial realm. When I got a scholarship in 1995 to go to University of California at Berkeley, I seized the opportunity to take classes on vertebrate evolution and phylogenetics for a year. I was inspired by my interactions with faculty like Kevin Padian, Bill Clemens, David Lindberg, Brent Mishler and Nan Crystal Arens and decided to pursue graduate studies at UC Berkeley. I wanted to study how vertebrates were affected by changes in their habitat and therefore shifted my focus to paleobotany/paleoecology in graduate school. After attending an invited talk given by Dr. Steve Stanley on horses, grasses and extinction, I decided to work on testing the traditional assumption that hypsodonty in horses was an adaptation to the spread of grasslands using the fossil record of plants. My thesis project involved fieldwork at numerous classic Cenozoic mammal localities, which was only possible with the help of a host of vertebrate paleontologists and geologists. These generous scientists deserve my sincere thanks, as do the students, staff, and faculty of the UC Museum of Paleontology for their support and help throughout the process. I completed my Ph.D. in December 2003 and I am now conducting post-doctoral work on the spread of grasslands in Eurasia with Drs. Else Marie Friis and Lars Werdelin at the Swedish Musuem of Natural History.
I am profoundly honored to be chosen by the Society to receive this year's Romer Prize.
Photo courtesy of Caroline Stromberg.