Profile picture of Nick Famoso

Nick Famoso

Courtesy Research Associate
Paleontology Program Manager/Museum Curator, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Earth Sciences
Phone: 541-346-4573
Research Interests: Vertebrate Paleontology


Ph.D., Earth Sciences, University of Oregon, 2017

M.S., Geological Sciences, University of Oregon, 2013

B.S., Geology, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, 2009


I compleated my MS (2013) and PhD (2017) at UO and am now the Paleontology Program Manager and Museum Curator at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.


I'm interested in understanding the processes which underlie mammalian community reconstruction after volcanic perturbations. I am especially interested in understanding the the impact of large scale eruptions (supervolcanoes) on mammalian communities. I'm focusing on the recovery after the Picture Gorge Ignimbrite in the Turtle Cove Member of the John Day Formation of Oregon.


Lee, J., N. A. Famoso, & A. Lin. 2024. Microtomography of an enigmatic fossil egg clutch from the Oligocene John Day Formation, Oregon, USA, reveals an exquisitely preserved 29-million-year-old fossil grasshopper ootheca. Parks Stewardship Forum 40(1):139-179. DOI: 10.5070/P540162928

Famoso N. A. & Orcutt J. D. 2022. First occurrences of Palaeogale von Meyer, 1846 in the Pacific Northwest, United States. Geodiversitas 44 (14): 427-436. DOI:10.5252/geodiversitas2022v44a14

Short, R. A., L. G. Emmert, N. A. Famoso, J. M. Martin, J. I. Meade, S. L. Swift, & A. Baezg. 2021. Paleobiology of a large mammal community from the late Pleistocene of Sonora, Mexico. Quaternary Research 102:1-13. DOI: 10.1017/qua.2020.125

Kort, A.E. & N.A. Famoso. 2020. Novel analysis of locality data can inform better inventory and monitoring practices for paleontological resources at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Palaeontologia Electronica 23(1):1-17. DOI:10.26879/1053

Famoso, N.A. 2020. Mammalian Community Response to Historic Volcanic Eruptions. Mammalian Biology 100(2):219-230. DOI: 10.1007/s42991-020-00022-0

Robson, S.V., N. A. Famoso , E. B. Davis, & S. S. B. Hopkins. 2019. First mesonychid from the Clarno Formation (Eocene) of Oregon. Palaeontologia Electronica. 22(2.35):1-13. DOI: 10.26879/856

Liggett, G. A., T. Childs, N. A. Famoso, H. G. McDonald, A. L. Titus, E. Varner, & C.L. Liggett. 2018. An overview of the contributions of federal land to paleontology, and a discussion of the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum Program. In Rosenberg, G. D., and Clary, R. M., eds., Museums at the Forefront of the History of Philosophy of Geology, History Made, History in the Making: Geological Society of America Special Paper 535: p. 311-334. DOI: 10.1130/2018.2535(21)

Famoso, N. A., S. S. B. Hopkins, & E. B. Davis. 2018. How do diet and body mass drive reproductive strategies in mammals? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 124(2):151-156. DOI: 10.1093/biolinnean/bly038

Famoso, N. A. 2017. Statistical analysis of dental variation in the Oligocene equid Miohippus (Mammalia, Perissodactyla) of Oregon. Journal of Paleontology. 91(5):1060-1068 DOI: 10.1017/jpa.2017.42

Famoso, N. A., & E. B. Davis. 2016. On the relationship between enamel band complexity and occlusal surface area in Equids (Mammalia, Perissodactyla). PeerJ. 4:e2181 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2181

Famoso, N. A., E. B. Davis, R. S. Feranec, S. S. B. Hopkins, & S. A. Price. 2016. Are Hypsodonty and Occlusal Enamel Complexity Evolutionarily Correlated in Ungulates? Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 23(1): 43-47. DOI: 10.1007/s10914-015-9296-7#

Famoso, N.A. & S.S.B. Hopkins. 2014. Correction to the holotype (AMNH FM 9394) of Merychippus proparvulus Osborn, 1918 (Perissodactyla, Equidae). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34(5): 1249-1250. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2014.853073

Famoso, N.A. & E.B. Davis. 2014. Occlusal enamel complexity in middle Miocene to Holocene Equids (Equidae: Perissodactyla) of North America. PLoS One. 9(2): e90184. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090184

Famoso N.A., R.S. Feranec, & E. B. Davis. 2013. Occlusal enamel complexity and its implications for lophodonty, hypsodonty, body mass and diet in extinct and extant ungulates. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 387: 211-216. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.07.006

Famoso, N.A. & D.C. Pagnac. 2011. A Comparison of the Clarendonian Equid Assemblages from the Mission Pit, South Dakota and Ashfall Fossil Beds, Nebraska. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences and Affiliated Societies. 32: 98-107. Website:


Ultimately, I want my students to leave my classroom being able to think critically about the world around them. I also feel that they should be able to understand the processes that underlie and connect all of the details. I believe that my students should know the basics of the scientific method to be better informed citizens whether or not they decide to go into the sciences through collecting, visualizing, and interpreting data. Personally, I want to get students excited about science, and not be afraid of the STEM fields. 

I also believe that mentoring students, not only in research, but in the lab and the field is imperative to their success in understanding the underlying process. I believe that fostering a creative and supportive learning environment will lead my students to a successful career in STEM fields, or at least in becoming a well informed and citizen.