University of Chicago takes third consecutive Romer Prize in paleontology

Christian Kammerer extended the University of Chicago’s winning streak for the Alfred Sherwood Romer Prize to three in a row at the annual meeting of the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology last month in Bristol, England.

The SVP awards the prize annually to a graduate student for outstanding Ph.D. research based on an oral presentation at the society’s annual meeting. Kammerer is the sixth UChicago student to receive the Romer Prize since 2001, and at least the eighth since the prize was first awarded in 1979.

Kammerer, a student in UChicago’s Committee on Evolutionary Biology, received the prize for his presentation, “The Effects of Mass Extinctions on Synapsid Disparity over Time.” His paper contained a quantitative analysis of disparity (diversity of form and structure) in mammal-like reptiles before and after the mass extinction that occurred approximately 250 million years ago.

Joshua Miller, also a CEB student, received the 2008 prize for his presentation, “Taphonomy of Temperate Large-Mammal Death Assemblages: A Live-Dead Analysis of Yellowstone National Park.” Miller’s research compared Yellowstone’s living population of elk, bison and other large mammals to their former population as reflected in the bones he was able to recover from the park.

UChicago Romer Prize recipients:
1993, Raymond Rogers, Ph.D.’95
1994, John Alroy, Ph.D.’94
2001, Christian Sidor, Ph.D.’00
2002, Karen Sears, Ph.D.’03
2003, Gina Wesley, Ph.D.’03
2007, Rebecca Terry, Ph.D.’08
2008, Joshua Miller
2009, Christian Kammerer


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Christian Kammerer with a saber-toothed, wolf-like predatory therapsid from the Permian Period, which ended approximately 250 million years ago. Kammerer is the 2009 recipient of the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology’s Sherwood Romer Prize.

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