Mike Gottfried
Contact Information:
(517) 432-7445

Michael Gottfried

Curator, Vertebrate Paleontology

Curator, Vertebrate Paleontology, MSU Museum
Associate Professor and Graduate Director, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Integrative Biology (adjunct)

Research Interests/Experience

Mike Gottfried’s research focus has mainly revolved around vertebrate evolution in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly the evolution and spread of vertebrates across the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. These field research-based projects include collecting and studying Cretaceous-age fossils from Madagascar, and the initially very poorly known Cretaceous record of sub-Sarahan Africa through discoveries in Tanzania. In more recent years Mike has also worked in the Canadian Arctic studying the fossil record from the ‘Greenhouse Earth’ interval of maximum global warming that peaked 50 million years ago. Other continuing projects include studies on the evolutionary history of Great White Sharks and their fossil relatives, further documenting the fossil record of fishes and sharks from New Zealand, and a new project examining the ‘deep time’ record and intriguing geological history of the subantarctic Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas).

Selected Recent Publications

  • Claeson, K., Ngasala, S., Gottfried, M.D., Roberts, E.M., O’Connor, P.M., and N.J. Stevens. 2020. A new assemblage of Cenozoic lungfishes (Dipnoi: Lepiidosirenidae) from the late Oligocene Nsungwe Formation, Rukwa Rift Basin, southwstern Tanzania. Geobios.
  • Gottfried, M.D. 2019. The Forest Bed of West Point Island: a unique window into environmental change in the Falklands’ ‘deep time’ past. Falkland Islands Wildlife Conservation 29:12-14.
  • Gottfried, M.D. and J. Eberle. 2018. New records from Banks Island expand the diversity of Eocene fishes from Canada’s western Arctic Greenhouse. Arctic Science 4(1):16-24.
  • Gottfried, M.D., Samonds, K.E., Ostrowski, S.A., Andrianavalona, T., and T. Ramihangihajason. 2017. New evidence indicates the presence of barracuda (Sphyraenidae) and supports a tropical marine environment in the Miocene of Madagascar. PLoS One doi.org/10.1371/journa.pone.0176553.
  • Gottfried, M.D. and R.E. Fordyce. 2015. A Late Triassic chimaeroid egg capsule from New Zealand: early evidence of chimaeroid reproductive mode from the eastern margin of Gondwana. Journal of Systematic Paleontology 13(5):371-375.
  • Fordyce, R.E., Gottfried, M.D., Loch, C., Rose, K.D., and H.-D. Sues. 2015. Seeking the lost mammals of Zealandia. New Zealand Geosciences Misc. Publication 139A:37-38.
  • Padilla, A., Eberle, J.E., Gottfried, M.D., Sweet, A., and J.H. Hutchison. 2014. A sand tiger shark-dominated fauna form the Eocene Arctic Greenhouse. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 34(6):1307-1316.

Selected Exhibitions

  • “TANZANIA IN ‘DEEP TIME’ — A View from the Rift Valley,” MSU Museum
  • “DATELINE: GONDWANA — New Fossil Discoveries from Tanzania,” MSU Museum
  • “Animal Weapons – Nature’s Arms Race,” MSU Museum
  • “Treasure from the Cliffs – Exploring Marine Fossils,” Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, Maryland
  • “Seabirds – Past & Present,” Calvert Marine Museum
  • “Collecting Fossil Whales,” Calvert Marine Museum


Ph.D., Systematics and Ecology (Paleontology), University of Kansas, 1991
M.Ph., Systematics and Ecology (Paleontology), University of Kansas, 1987

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