CEB Committe on Evolutionary Biology

Tiny microfossil teeth contain insights into evolutionary process

Robert Burroughs is interested in tooth evolution of the Sagebrush Mole.

CEB student Robert Burroughs' research was recently featured on the Burke Museum's blog. Robert is a recent reicipient of the Burke Museum's VP Collections Grant and was a visiting scholar to the museum. An excerpt of the article is below. Click here to read the full article.

I am studying Burke Museum microfossils from southern Washington, specifically the Kennewick Road Cut (KRC) locality. This material was collected by paleontologists in the early 1980s and represents a fascinating animal assemblage from this time period (known as the Quaternary Period) in North America. I am particularly interested in fossils of the Sagebrush Vole, Lemmiscus curtatus.

Researchers have reported a pattern of evolution in the teeth of the Sagebrush Vole, over the last approximately 1 million years, from three locations in North America. One in New Mexico, one in Colorado, and Kennewick Road Cut here in Washington.

My doctoral dissertation research is focused on studying the process by which evolution occurs. To understand evolutionary process, we must carefully investigate patterns of evolution and understand their contexts.