Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology

Anne Weil, Ph.D.Anne Weil, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anatomy




Research Interests | Instructional Activities | Recent Publications




Research Interests

I am a vertebrate paleontologist and paleobiologist studying early mammals and recovery from extinction events.

Early mammalian evolution, especially phylogeny and biogeography of multituberculate mammals
Although the Cenozoic is called “The Age of Mammals,” mammalian history began in the Mesozoic, and early mammals were quite diverse.  Multituberculates, sometimes called the “rodents of the Mesozoic,” lived on all the northern continents by the Late Cretaceous.  They are the most diverse and most commonly identified terrestrial vertebrates that survive the end-Cretaceous extinction and re-diversify afterward.

Terrestrial recovery from the end-Cretaceous mass extinction
The extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period, 65 million years ago, is the most recent mass extinction event in Earth's history. The fossil record of this event and of the subsequent biotic recovery is particularly good in marine sediments, where it is documented in geologic sections around the world.  Our record of this event in terrestrial sediments is not as complete. The best terrestrial record of this interval is from the Western Interior of North America, where the mammalian fossil record is exceptional and there are age constraints on many local and regional faunas.  I am particularly interested in how biogeographic variation in the Late Cretaceous might have contributed to recovery of terrestrial ecosystems in the earliest Cenozoic.

Evolutionary properties governing biotic response to extinction on large spatiotemporal scales
Is there a general pattern of recovery from extinction events? And if so, does a general set of evolutionary properties govern biotic response to, and recovery from, environmental perturbation? Regardless of the quality of the local data on any individual extinction or recovery period, such events are only interpretable if their variation from more general baselines is known.

Instructional Activities

  • Gross and Developmental Anatomy – MS I
  • Biomedical Statistics – Graduate
  • Evolution and Development of the Mammalian Skull – Graduate

Recent Publications

Williamson, T. E., Brusatte, S. L., Carr, T. D., Weil, A., and B. R. Standhardt. (in press) The phylogeny and evolution of Cretaceous-Paleogene metatherians: New cladistic analysis and description of new early Paleocene specimens from the Nacimiento Formation, New Mexico.  Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.

Weil, A.  2011.  Mammalian evolution: A jaw-dropping ear. Nature 472:174-176.

Williamson, T. E. and A. Weil.  2011. A new early Paleocene (Puercan) hyopsodontid “condylarth” from New Mexico.  Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 56(2):247-255.  Available online 16 August 2010.  doi:10.4202/app.2009.0147

Williamson, T. E., A. Weil, and B. Standhardt. 2011. Cimolestids (Mammalia) from the early Paleocene (Puercan) of New Mexico. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(1):162-180.

Tanaka, K., Zelenitsky, D. K., Williamson, T. E., Weil, A. and F. Therrien.  2010.  Description of fossil eggshells from the Upper Cretaceous Fruitland Formation (upper Campanian), New Mexico. Historical Biology.  First publication 27 July 2010. doi:10.1080/08912963.2010.499171

Williamson, T. E., and Weil, A.  2008.  Stratigraphic distribution of sauropods in the Upper Cretaceous of the San Juan Basin, New Mexico, with comments on North America’s Cretaceous “sauropod hiatus.” Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 28(4):1218-1223.

Williamson, T. E., and Weil, A.  2008.  Metatherian mammals from the Naashoibito Member, Kirtland Formation, San Juan Basin, New Mexico and their biochronologic and paleobiogeographic significance. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 28(3):803-815.

Janis, C., and Weil, A.  2008.  Non-Eutherian mammals. pp. 7-18 in Janis, C., Gunnell, G., and Uhen, M. (eds.) Evolution of Tertiary Mammals of North America, Volume II.  Cambridge University Press, New York.

Weil, A. and Krause, D. W. 2008.  Multituberculata. pp. 19-38  in Janis, C., Gunnell, G., and Uhen, M. (eds.) Evolution of Tertiary Mammals of North America, Volume II. Cambridge University Press, New York.

Williamson, T. E., Nichols, D. J., and Weil, A.  2008.  Paleocene palynomorph assemblages from the Nacimiento Formation, San Juan Basin, New Mexico, and their biostratigraphic significance. New Mexico Geology 30(1):3-11.

Drea, C. and Weil, A.  2007, 2008.  External genital morphology of the Ringtailed Lemur (Lemur catta): females are naturally ‘masculinized’  Journal of Morphology, online publication Oct. 2007; print publication in April, 2008 269:451-463.



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