Emily J. Lessner, PhD

Dr. Emily Lessner is a vertebrate paleontologist who studies form, function, and evolution of sensory systems across reptiles of varied ecologies. She focuses on characterizing patterns and constraints in neurosensory evolution over ecological transitions, exploring developmental patterns behind neurosensory shifts, and investigating evolutionary radiations of early reptilian clades and behaviors. She is interested in describing these patterns and processes to support hypotheses of behaviors and interactions of extinct animals. Emily has been involved in paleontology since her undergraduate at Virginia Tech and continued to University of Missouri where she received her PhD. She has conducted fieldwork throughout the American West including New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. She joined the museum as a postdoctoral researcher at the beginning of 2023.

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