Geology (BS) - Paleontology 259D

Appalachian Paleontology logo






Paleontology is the quintessential interdisciplinary science, combining geology and biology to document the evolution of life.

Few schools have a dedicated paleontology major, but we at Appalachian have developed a concentration in paleontology within our geology major.

This program targets the dedicated undergraduate interested in pursuing a career in paleontology or the petroleum industry by providing a strong interdisciplinary background rooted in geology and biology, opportunities for student research in paleontology, and a program of study designed to facilitate entry to graduate school.


Students whose focus is paleontology take a variety of courses in geology and biology, as well as some presently offered as special topics in geology. These include paleontology methods, paleoecology, and quantitative paleobiology. The result is a student with a strong geology major, a biology minor, and an exemplary introduction to paleontology.

Student Research Opportunities

Field Projects

  • Middle Ordovician community ecology
  • Microvertebrates and the Triassic-Jurassic boundary in the American Southwest
  • Triassic rift-basin paleoenvironmental reconstruction and implications for paleo-landscape resources

Lab Projects

  • Bryozoan genetics and evolution
  • Practice in Preparation - an expanding opportunity in paleontology
  • Microvertebrates - finding fossils in the lab


Faculty expertise at Appalachian spans the gamut from archosaurs to zooecia, with three paleontologists on staff and several additional faculty associated with the program:

Who What When Where
Dr. Johnny Waters Blastoids and other fossil echinoderms, rebound from mass extinctions Paleozoic China, Mongolia, Germany, Austria, Timor, USA
Dr. Steve Hageman Systematics, evolution, and growth of Bryozoa; paleoecology Paleozoic-Recent  Australia, Scotland, the Adriatic Seaway
Dr. Andrew Heckert Microvertebrates and early dinosaur evolution Triassic-Jurassic American Southwest, North Carolina

Other faculty associated with the program:

Who What When Where
Dr. Sarah Carmichael Geochemistry of mass extinctions Paleozoic China, Mongolia, Germany, Vietnam
Dr. Ellen Cowan Sedimentary record of climate change; foraminifera Pleistocene-Recent Alaska, Antarctica 
Dr. Cynthia Liutkus Paleolandscape reconstruction, stable isotopes, and the early hominid record Miocene-Recent East African Rift; Nevada 

Our faculty collaborate with researchers around the world, and are intensively involved with projects associated with the American Museum of Natural History (New York), Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago), North Carolina Museum of Science, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, the Natural History Museum (London), and other institutions in North America and beyond.

Finish in Four


Physical Address
Department of Geology
033 Rankin Science West
572 Rivers Street
Boone, NC 28608

Postal Address
Department of Geology
Appalachian State University
ASU Box 32067
Boone, NC 28608-2067

Phone: 828-262-3049
Fax: 828-262-6503

Department Email Address

Dr. Bill Anderson

Anthony Love

Learn more about the QEP