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Robert Lynn Carroll (born May 5 1938, Kalamazoo, Michiganmarker) is a vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians and reptiles.

Carroll was an only child and grew up on a farm near Lansing, Michiganmarker. He was introduced to paleontology by his father shortly after his fifth birthday, and by the time he was eight he had decided he wanted to be a vertebrate paleontologist. In that same year he received as a Christmas present the left femur of an Allosaurus, courtesy of Edwin H. Colbert, whom his father had told about his interest. In his teen years his parents took him on many fossil hunting trips to Wyomingmarker and South Dakotamarker. Allosaurus was discovered by Edwin Harris Colbert at the year 1942 in Wyomingmarker.

After high-school, he went to Michigan State Universitymarker, where he received a BSc, majoring in Geology. From there he went to Harvard Universitymarker where he studied biology and paleontology under Alfred Sherwood Romer. His thesis dealt with the Dissorophidae, a group of Paleozoic amphibians.

Dr Carroll is professor of biology at McGill Universitymarker, and the author or co-author of a large number of scientific papers on fossil vertebrates, as well as a number of important monographs, text-books and more general books.

His areas of research include the origins of terrestrial vertebrates, the origin and early evolutionary radiation of amniotes, the origin and interrelationships of the Lissamphibian groups, the anatomy and relationship of Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians and reptiles, large scale patterns and processes of vertebrate evolution, and the use of Mesozoic marine reptiles as a model for investigating factors controlling the patterns and rates of evolution.

He currently lives in Montrealmarker. He is married to Anna DiTuri, a retired business school teacher, and they have one child, David.

Partial bibliography

  • Carroll, R.C. 1987. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W. H. Freeman and Co. New York.
  • Stearn, C. and Carroll, R.C. 1989. Paleontology: The Record of Life. John Wiley and Sons. New York.
  • Carroll, R.C. 1997. Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Carroll, R.L., Bossy, K.A., Milner, A.C., Andrews, S.M., and Wellstead, C.F. 1998. "Lepospondyli". Encyclopedia of Paleoherpetology, P. Wellnhofer (ed.). Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, M√ľnchen.
  • Carroll, R.C. 2000. Amphibian Biology, vol 4, Palaeontology, The Evolutionary History of Amphibians, Surrey Beatty & Sons,


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