Tag: Morgan Churchill

Morgan Churchill is a postdoctoral fellow at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York, in the labs of Jonathan Geisler and Brian Beatty. He received his PhD in ecology at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, in the lab of Mark Clementz, and his master’s in biology at San Diego State University, California, in the lab of Annalisa Berta. His research focuses on the evolution and palaeoecology of marine mammals, with a particular interest in seal phylogeny, the evolution of teeth and how skull shape has been influenced by the demands of aquatic living.

Contact details

Postdoctoral Fellow, New York Institute of Technology, Department of Anatomy, P.O. Box 8000, Old Westbury, NY 11568

Fossil Focus: Seals, sea lions and walruses

Fossil Focus
By Morgan Churchill*1 Introduction Pinnipeds (seals, sea lions and walruses) make up the second most numerous group of marine mammals (behind whales), with 35 species found throughout the world’s oceans and in several freshwater lakes. They are represented by 3 living families: the Phocidae (earless seals; 19 species), found around the globe; the Otariidae (sea lions and fur seals; 15 species), restricted to the North Pacific and Southern Hemisphere; and the Odobenidae (walrus; 1 species), confined to the Arctic. Two additional extinct families are recognized: the Desmatophocidae and the Enaliarctidae of the North Pacific. Pinnipeds show a variety of adaptations for aquatic living, including flippers for moving through water, changes in teeth related to capturing and feeding on slippery ...