Bill Wall's Home Page

My two main research areas are evolutionary biology and biomechanics.

 

I am particularly interested in why major phylogenetic shifts occur. The late Eocene-Oligocene deposits exposed in Badlands National Park provide an excellent opportunity for this research. The oldest sediments, approximately 37 million years in age, contain a fossil mammal assemblage predominated by archaic groups. The paleofaunas from the younger sections (the youngest being 25 million years) show a clear turnover to essentially modern mammalian lineages. Some of the earliest true carnivores, camels, cervoids, and advanced rodents are representative of this transition. Why this faunal turnover occurred is a significant evolutionary question. I utilize biomechanical analyses to interpret how effectively these organisms interacted with their environment. For mammalian evolution two key areas influenced by natural selection are food acquisition and locomotion. My graduate students and I rely heavily on both GCSU's fossil and recent mammal collections in this research. I am also interested in biomechanical analysis of the late Triassic radiation of tetrapods particularly: phytosaurs; metoposaurs; and early dinosaurs.

 

 

 

Biomechanical analysis of feeding adaptations in aquatic beetle larvae is another area of research interest for me.  The life habits of the majority of dytiscid beetles are poorly known.  Even basic information like prey choice, and niche partitioning are unknown.  My colleagues and I are currently focusing on geometric differences in head and mandibular shape and their reliability in predicting the food habits of a variety of larval dytiscids.
 

 

 

 

 

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

Mandibular mechanics and feeding adaptations in larval aquatic beetles

Paleofauna survey of Grand Teton National Park

Jaw and locomotor mechanics of mid-Tertiary North American mammals

Biomechanics of North American Triassic phytosaurs Abstract

LIST OF PUBLICATIONS

COURSES

BIOMECHANICS

EVOLUTION

ORIGINS: SCIENTIFIC VIEWS

SEMINAR

SUMMER PALEONTOLOGY FIELDTRIP

ADMINISTRATIVE/TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Biology Department Chair, July 1994 to present
Professor of Biology and Geology at Georgia College & State University (faculty appointment beginning in 1981 through to present)
Curator of the Georgia College & State University Mammalogy (1,500 specimens, mostly skeletal) and Fossil Vertebrate (5,000 specimens mostly mammals) Collections
Courses Taught: Biomechanics, Evolution, Evolutionary Mechanisms, Origins: Scientific Views

Paleontology Field Experience in: Tertiary Mammal sites in North and South America, primarily Badlands National Park; Mesozoic and Paleozoic field work in Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Petrified Forest, and Yellowstone National Parks

LINKS TO RELATED WEB SITES

STUDENT/FACULTY RESEARCH IN BIOLOGY AT GCSU

PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS & STANDARDIZED TESTS

SCIENCE MUSEUMS AND EXHIBITS

GCSU BIOLOGY HOMEPAGE