DinoByte Wednesday: Meet the DIG Field School Team part 1

The sixth annual DIG Field School is quickly approaching and we are working around the clock to prepare for an exciting week in the field with an excellent group of educators! Before everyone heads out to Montana, we wanted to give our teachers a chance to get to know more about the field instructors that will be guiding them through their DIG experience. We’ll introduce the first half of the instructors this week, and stay tuned for the second half next week!

Greg Wilson is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the DIG Field School. At the University of Washington, he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology, Adjunct Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Burke Museum, and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences. He is also a Research Associate at the University of California Museum of Paleontology, and was formerly the Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. His research has been published in a number of prestigious scientific journals including Nature, Science, Geological Society of America Special Papers, Paleobiology, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and Scientific Reports and has appeared in on-line reporting for the Huffington Post for his work in Hell Creek, Montana as well as Nature Podcasts and Science Daily. His work has been funded by a number of organizations including the National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, Paleontological Society, and American Philosophical Society. Greg attended Stanford University, received his PhD in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004, and was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Helsinki in 2005.

In addition to his research and work with the DIG Field School, Greg is also a scientific expert consultant for “A New Prehistory” — a documentary trilogy focused on key events in the evolutionary history of different life forms. Greg can’t wait to get another exciting field season rolling!



Brody Hovatter returns for his second year as a DIG Field School instructor. Brody graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 and is currently the Wilson Lab’s manager. His research focuses on mammals from the early Paleocene in northeastern Montana, particularly a group of early primates called Plesiadapiformes. Brody loves working in the field and getting his hands dirty looking for bones. He can’t wait for another awesome summer in Montana and is looking forward to meeting all of you!


Dave DeMar joins the DIG Field school for his fourth year as a field instructor. He is a graduate student in Dr. Greg Wilson’s lab at the University of Washington and his research primarily focuses on amphibian, lizard, and snake extinction and recovery across the K/Pg boundary. Dave has described and identified several new species of amphibians and lizards from the Late Cretaceous Period based on fossils from the Hell Creek area and the slightly older Two Medicine Formation of northwestern Montana. The opportunity to step back in time and learn about animals that no longer exist today is one of the many things Dave loves about paleontology. He has been working in the Hell Creek area with Greg since 2007 and also has spent time collecting fossils in Wyoming during his undergraduate degree at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY. Dave is a military veteran and served his country in the US ARMY as a tank crewman for three years. Fun Fact: Prior to pursuing a career in paleontology Dave aspired to either be a professional bass fisherman or a member of a heavy metal band!


Stephanie Smith has just completed her third year as a graduate student in the Wilson lab and she loves mammals! She is especially interested in mammal teeth, which is handy because there are lots of fossil teeth in the Hell Creek area for her to study! She usually takes measurements on 3D models of teeth to try and understand how they process food, but she is hoping to soon learn how to use computer models to simulate feeding stress on Paleogene mammals’ teeth. This will be Stephanie’s fourth year at the DIG Field School and she can’t wait for another great year!

Steph Smith


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