Joseph Sertich, PhD

Dr. Joe Sertich is curator of dinosaurs at the Museum. Originally from central Iowa, Joe grew up in the Denver area where he pursued his passion for paleontology from a young age, taking courses and volunteering at the Museum through high school before pursuing a professional career in paleontology at Colorado State University (BS 2004), the University of Utah (MS 2006), and Stony Brook University (PhD 2011). His research focuses on dinosaurs and their ecosystems, during the Late Cretaceous.

Joe’s field-based research is split between the Gondwanan continents of the southern hemisphere and western North America. He is one of the primary researchers on the Madagascar Paleontology Project exploring the Cretaceous of Madagascar. He is also working on several projects searching for the first latest Cretaceous dinosaurs of Africa, including work in northern Kenya. Closer to home in the Rocky Mountain West, Joe leads the Laramidia Project, currently leading research to uncover a lost world of dinosaurs in the Cretaceous of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah (Wahweap and Kaiparowits formations [fms]), New Mexico (Fruitland and Kirtland fms), and Colorado (Denver and Williams Fork fms). These efforts have combined to produce dozens of new dinosaurs and other vertebrates from the Mesozoic in pursuit of patterns of ecosystem evolution in response to large-scale Earth processes, including climate change and tectonics.

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Featured Publications

Sertich JJW, Loewen MA (2010) A New Basal Sauropodomorph Dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of Southern Utah. PLoS ONE 5(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009789

Joseph J. W. Sertich & Patrick M. O’Connor (2014) A new crocodyliform from the middle Cretaceous Galula Formation, southwestern Tanzania, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 34:3, 576-596. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2013.819808

Sallam, H.M., Gorscak, E., O’Connor, P.M. et al. New Egyptian sauropod reveals Late Cretaceous dinosaur dispersal between Europe and Africa. Nat Ecol Evol 2, 445–451 (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0455-5

Loewen MA, Irmis RB, Sertich JJW, Currie PJ, Sampson SD (2013) Tyrant Dinosaur Evolution Tracks the Rise and Fall of Late Cretaceous Oceans. PLoS ONE 8(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079420

Jurassic Giants

Join Curator of Dinosaurs, Dr. Joe Sertich, as he explores hidden treasures in the Jurassic collections housed at DMNS.

SUE the T. Rex

Listen to Curator of Dinosaurs, Dr. Joe Sertich, discuss the life of this fearsome fossil.


Dinosaur Empire, New Discoveries from the Lost Landmass of Laramidia

The western landmass of Laramidia was a hotbed of dinosaur diversity during the Late Cretaceous, with spectacular forms of horned, duckbilled, and tyrannosaur dinosaurs. DMNS teams have been hunting for these lost ecosystems across the American West, from Utah and New Mexico, to right here in Colorado. New dino discoveries have begun to challenge our views of evolution in this hothouse world.

Horned Dinosaurs of Colorado

Horned dinosaurs are among the most common dinosaur finds in Colorado, going back more than 120 years to the first Triceratops fossils. New discoveries from the Denver Basin like the Thornton Torosaurs are helping us understand this bizarre group of dinosaurs.


Rafting Dinosaurs, New discoveries from Gondwana

Over the past 40 years, teams of paleontologists from around the world have uncovered troves of dinosaurs from the southern continents of Gondwana. Bizarre ecosystems from the final 60 million years of the Cretaceous tell stories of lingering connections, oversea dispersals, and evolution in isolation on the island continents of South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, Antarctica and Australia. Join DMNS Curator of Dinosaurs Dr. Joe Sertich as he describes new discoveries and evidence from new localities across Madagascar, Africa, and Antarctica. These new fossil finds have already begun to shed light on new hypotheses related to dinosaurs and other bizarre creatures trapped on drifting continents.

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