Christopher Noto, PhD

Christopher Noto


  • Paleontology
  • Paleobiology
  • Fossils
  • Dinosaurs
  • Evolution
I grew up in upstate New York, where I developed a passion for fossils and natural history at an early age. I received a BS from the University of Chicago, where I worked with paleontologist Paul Sereno as a fossil preparator. While there I helped prepare specimens of the dinosaurs Suchomimus, Jobaria, and Afrovenator and the giant crocodilian Sarcosuchus. I also worked as a research assistant with geologist Fred Ziegler, where I had the opportunity to help revise a chapter for the second edition of The Dinosauria. I went on to earn a PhD in Ecology and Evolution with advisor Catherine Forster at Stony Brook University in 2009. Prior to coming to Parkside I was a visiting professor at Grand Valley State University, where I taught human anatomy.

Teaching Interests

I have over ten years experience as both a laboratory and lecture instructor, including active inquiry, scholarly research and writing, fieldwork, and organismal dissection. I am passionate about education and consider teaching to be among my most important contributions as a scientist. Teaching is as much about knowing the subject as it is about the ability to communicate it. As an educator, I believe it is not only my responsibility to help students learn how to think about information, but to train them how to apply this knowledge as the professionals or educated citizens they will become. I also consider public outreach to be an important part of my job as an educator. I have participated for many years in outreach activities for the public to help educate them about evolution and science in general. This experience has taught me a great deal about engaging people with diverse interests and backgrounds in science.

Research Interests

At heart I consider myself a paleoecologist, with a wide range of research interests related to taphonomy, comparative anatomy, paleobiogeography, and functional morphology. I have done extensive field work in Texas, Wyoming, and Utah.

To date, my research has focused on two main areas: 1) the interplay between climate patterns, local environmental conditions, and vertebrate diversity at different spatial scales; and 2) using functional morphological and biomechanical principles to understand the ecology and evolution of dinosaurs and Mesozoic communities.

Currently I am using geometric morphometrics to examine shape variation in fossil claws as well as studying the internal anatomy of bird claws to better reconstruct dinosaur claw soft tissue anatomy. This work allows for exploration of ecological differences between theropod species and the evolution of the theropod forelimb, especially with regards to the evolution of flight.

I am also involved with describing the vast collection of fossils coming out of the Arlington Archosaur Site (, including fish, amphibians, mammals, turtles, dinosaurs, and a new species of giant crocodilian.

Consulting Interests

Selected Publications

2023: Insight on interactions between climatic, biotic, and atmospheric processes during the Mid-Cretaceous using terrestrial deposits in Texas and Oklahoma, Dinosaur Science Center Press (222-232 pp.)

2023: Palaeodiversity and niche partitioning of crocodylomorphs from the Woodbine Group (Late Cretaceous; Cenomanian), Dinosaur Science Center Press (99-119 pp.)

2023: The first small-bodied ornithopod dinosaur from the Lewisville Formation (Middle Cenomanian) of Texas, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (10 pages pp.)

2023: A revision of “Trinitichelys” maini (Testudines: Baenidae) and additional material of its new genus from the Lewisville Formation (Woodbine Group, Cenomanian), Texas, USA, Palaeontologia Electronica (1-43 pp.)

2023: Differentiating convergent pathologies in turtle shells using computed tomographic scanning of modern and fossil bone, Palaeontologia Electronica (1-21 pp.)

2022: A newly recognized theropod assemblage from the Lewisville Formation (Woodbine Group; Cenomanian) and its implications for understanding Late Cretaceous Appalachian terrestrial ecosystems, PeerJ (e12782 pp.)

2021: An early bothremydid from the Arlington Archosaur Site of Texas, Scientific Reports (14pp pp.)

2021: Expanded sampling across ontogeny in Deltasuchus motherali (Neosuchia, Crocodyliformes) reveals ecomorphological niche partitioning and Appalachian endemism in Cenomanian crocodyliforms, Elements of Paleontology (92 pp.)

2020: Trierarchuncus prairiensis gen. et sp. nov., the last alvarezsaurid: Hell Creek Formation (uppermost Maastrichtian), Montana, Cretaceous Research (104560 pp.)

2019: A new baenid, “Trinitichelys” maini sp. nov., and other fossil turtles from the Upper Cretaceous Arlington Archosaur Site (Woodbine Formation, Cenomanian), Texas, U.S.A., Palaeotologia Electronica (1-29 pp.)

2019: Quantifying shape and ecology in avian pedal claws: the relationship between the bony core and keratinous sheath, Ecology and Evolution (12 pp.)

2019: A small enigmatic neosuchian crocodyliform from the Woodbine Formation of Texas, Anatomical Record

2018: An unusual association of hadrosaur and therizinosaur tracks within Late Cretaceous rocks of Denali National Park, Alaska, Nature Scientific Reports (11706 pp.)

2017: A large neosuchian crocodyliform from the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian) Woodbine Formation of North Texas, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (e1349776 pp.)

2017: New data towards the development of a comprehensive taphonomic framework for the Late Jurassic Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, Central Utah, PeerJ (e3368 pp.)

2015: Archosaur Localities in the Woodbine Formation (Cenomanian) of North Central Texas, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (38-51 pp.)

2014: Postcranial anatomy of a basal hadrosauroid (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) from the Cretaceous (Cenomanian) Woodbine Formation of North Central Texas, Indiana University Press

2014: Fluvial transport potential of shed and root-bearing dinosaur teeth from the late Jurassic Morrison Formation, PeerJ (e347 pp.)

2012: Feeding traces and paleobiology of a Cretaceous (Cenomanian) crocodyliform: example from the Woodbine Formation of Texas, Palaios (105-115 pp.)

2011: Hierarchical control of terrestrial vertebrate taphonomy over space and time: discussion of mechanisms and implications for vertebrate paleobiology, Springer (287-336 pp.)

2010: Broad-Scale Patterns of Late Jurassic Dinosaur Paleoecology, PLoS ONE (e12553 pp.)

Departmental Service

: Committee Member - Awards Committee
: Committee Chair - Web Page Committee
2015: Committee Member - Course and Curriculum Committee
2012: Committee Member - Search and Screen Committee

College Service

2023: Committee Member - Center for Health Sciences Steering Committee

University Service

: Chairperson - Academic Policies Committee
: Committee Member - Academic Policies Committee
2023: University Senate Service - Senator
2023: Committee Member - Undergraduate Program Task Force
2022: Committee Member - Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee

Professional Service

: Editor, Associate Editor - PeerJ

Public Service

: Other - Arlington Archosaur Site
AHS 494 - Internship/Fieldwork
BIOS 105 - Human Physiology and Anatomy I
BIOS 190 - Fundamentals Human Nutrition
BIOS 300 - Human Functional Anatomy
BIOS 445 - Research Mthds Ecology/Evolutn
BIOS 494 - Internship
BIOS 495 - Senior Seminar
BIOS 499 - Independent Study:
BIOS 645 - Research Mthds Ecology/Evolutn
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