Michelle is a vertebrate paleontologist, currently researching the diversification of a fossil’s characterization through skeletal characteristics, as well as the effects of climate change on saurian faunal evolution. Despite the heavy correlations made by the Phytosaur fossils from Late Triassic terrestrial deposits, their identification has not always been appropriate and has led to the synonymization of multiple species. This improper classification has sparked Michelle to directly observe and examine specimens for morphological phylogenetic analyses. Her re-examination has already left previous identifications of Paleorhinus to be unjustified, thus making such classifications erroneous. By resolving these issues that are nearly a century old, Michelle is able to further diversify these discoveries.
Additionally, Michelle is looking at the changes in the composition of mammalian fauna in the Eocene epoch, and the impacts on them as a result of climate change. She will research the changes in that fauna by testing whether any diversity changes hypothesized for reptiles were correlated with the Eocene epoch climate change.
Jackson School of Geosciences
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