Geology and Geological Engineering

Dr. Darrin Pagnac
Vertebrate Paleontology
Research Teaching People News & Links Publications CV

Meet the team

My student team has conducted an amazing variety of projects in vertebrate paleontology. My favorite aspect of working with my graduate students is the variety I am always faced with. In general, student projects have focused on taxonomy, phylogeny, and paleoecology, particularly with regard to large mammals from the Miocene of North America. However, projects have ranged as far as Mesozoic marine reptiles and the Pleistocene megafauna of Taiwan.


  • Sydney Boos, MS student Population Dynamics of Moropus elatus from Agate Springs Quarry, Arikareean, northwestern Nebraska.
  • Paul Barrett, MS student Determining Valid Species and Subfamily Relationships Within the Nimravinae Utilizing Phylogenetic Systematics.BR>
  • Mariah Slovacek, MS Student Micro-enamel Structure of Plesiosaur Teeth and Implication of Functionality Associated with Neck Morphology BR>
  • Michael Calvello, Ph.D. Student Reevaluating the Phylogenetic Relationships and Palaeoecology of the Camelidae, with Studies on the Implications of Tooth Wear Analysis


  • David Lee (MS 2014)
  • Matthew Howard (MS 2014)
  • Joe Gandolfi (MS 2013)
  • Bevin O?Grady (MS 2012)

For prospective students

Students who work with me will get a dedicated and flexible advisor who will strive to make you the most well-rounded paleontologist possible equipped with an array of applicable skills. I expect hard work and consistent progress, but I also demand the same from myself in order to help you achieve your goals. I expect three things in a successful graduate student and researcher,
  • Willingness to learn
  • Self-motivation
  • Focus

contact: Dept. of Geology and Geological Engineering, 501 E. Saint Joseph St., SDSMT, Rapid City, SD 57701
phone: (605)394-2469 / fax: (605)394-6703 / email: