Randall L. Nydam, PhD

Professor of Anatomy

Midwestern University
Department of Anatomy
Agave Hall 201D
19555 N 59th Ave., Glendale, AZ 85308

Office: (623) 572-3359
e-mail: rnydam@midwestern.edu


Ph.D. Vertebrate Paleontology University of Oklahoma 2000
B.A. Biology University of California, Santa Cruz 1992


I am a vertebrate paleontologist studying the evolutionary history of terrestrial squamates (lizards and snakes). My primary interest is in the evolution, functional morphology, and paleobiogeography of the lizards and snakes of the Jurassic through the Paleocene. While most of my research is centered on specimens recovered from North America it also includes specimens from various other places on the globe. Currently I am working on the early evolution and distribution of snakes based on specimens from both the north and southern hemispheres including the oldest known snake fossils.

Research Gate Page

Research Projects

Early snake evolution—This project includes work on the oldest known snake fossils from both the northern and southern hemispheres. Additionally I am working on the evolution of snakes on the North American continent; the 'Coniophis problem'. This work is being done in collaboration with Dr. Michael W. Caldwell, University of Alberta.

Chamopsiids and polyglyphanodontids of the Cretaceous—This project is a continuing investigation into the evolution of a unique group of lizards only known from the Late Cretaceous of North America and some possibly related forms from the Late Cretaceous of Asia. This project is currently part of the dissertation project of Tiago Simoes, a PhD candidate at the University of Alberta for whom I am a member of the advisory committee.

The latitudinal distribution of squamates during the Late Jurassic-Late Cretaceous of North America—This ongoing project is aimed at the continuing recovery and description of squamate taxa from across North America, comparison with known faunas, and analysis of composition, diversity, and distribution of component taxa.

Selected Publications

The oldest known snakes from the Middle Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous provide insights on snake evolution. Caldwell MW, Nydam RL, Palci A, Apesteguía S. Nature Communications 2015 Jan 27;6:5996. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6996

Dakotaseps gen. nov., a replacement name for the lizard genus Dakotasaurus Nydam 2013, a junior homonym of the ichnotaxon Dakotasaurus Branson and Mehl 1932. Nydam RL. Zootaxa. 2014 Dec 19;3900(1):150. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.3900.1.11

A new durophagous scincomorphan lizard genus from the Late Cretaceous Iharkút locality (Hungary, Bakony Mts) László Makádi, RandallL Nydam Paläontologische Zeitschrift 01/2014; DOI:10.1007/s12542-014-0253-1

Squamates from the Jurassic and Cretaceous of North America. Randall L. Nydam. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments 2 Oct 2013 doi.org/10.1007/s12549-013-0129-5

Mesozoic and Cenozoic lissamphibian and squamate assemblages of Laurasia-introduction to the special issue. Gardner, J. and R. Nydam. 2013. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments. 93:391-395. DOI 10.1007/s12549-013-0132-x

Schillerosaurus gen. nov., a replacement name for the lizard genus Schilleria Evans and Chure, 1999 a junior homonym of Schilleria Dahl, 1907. Nydam RL, Chure DJ, Evans SE. Zootaxa. 2013 Nov 11;3736:99-100. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.3736

Lizards and snakes of the Terlingua Local Fauna (late Campanian), Aguja Formation, Texas, with comments on the distribution of paracontemporaneous squamates throughout the Western Interior of North America. Randall L. Nydam , Timothy B. Rowe , Richard L. Cifelli Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology Vol. 33, Iss. 5, 2013 DOI:10.1080/02724634.2013.760467

Lizards and Snakes from the Cenomanian through Campanian of Southern Utah: Filling the Gap in the Fossil Record of Squamata from the Late Cretaceous of the Western Interior of North America; Nydam, Randall L. 2013. , pp. 370-423 in, A. Titus and M. Loewen (eds) At the Top of the Grand Staircase, The Late Cretaceous of Southern Utah. Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

Reevaluation of the anatomy of the Cenomanian (Upper Cretaceous) hind-limbed marine fossil snakes PachyrhachisHaasiophis, and Eupodophis. Alessandro Palci , Michael W. Caldwell , Randall L. Nydam Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 2013 Vol. 33, Iss. 6, DOI:10.1080/02724634.2013.779880