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About the Society Awards Past Award Winners 2006 Awardees 2006 (Patterson Memorial Grant) Randall B. Irmis
2006 Pattterson Grant Recipient - Randall B. Irmis
Photo courtesy of Randall B. Irmis.

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois; my early interest in geology and natural history was equally influenced by visits to the Field Museum and trips to the rolling hills of southwestern Wisconsin. I moved west to Northern Arizona University for my undergraduate degree where I received a BS in Geology (with an emphasis in Paleontology) in 2004.

While there, the fantastic outdoor geological laboratory that is the southern Colorado Plateau initiated my interest in Triassic vertebrate paleontology, particularly the assemblages found within the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation. This resulted in three summers of fieldwork at Petrified Forest National Park under the direction of park paleontologist Bill Parker. After completing my undergraduate degree, I began my PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and have continued fieldwork in the early Mesozoic of the Colorado Plateau.

My PhD project focuses on understanding the origins, interrelationships, and initial diversification of early dinosaurs. As part of this research, I am co-leading a field project with colleagues from the American Museum of Natural History and Field Museum of Natural History in the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation of northern New Mexico to excavate a new quarry containing some of the earliest North American dinosaurs. Funding from the Bryan Patterson Award will allow me to conduct fieldwork that places this quarry and other localities in the area into a better stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental context. This work will hopefully lead to a better understanding of the vertebrate faunal changes occurring through time in the Late Triassic of northern New Mexico.