Dr. Beard is a vertebrate paleontologist interested in the origin and early evolution of primates and how changes in the Earth’s physical environment have impacted Cenozoic mammals.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: B.A., Anthropology/Zoology, 1984, with highest honors.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: Ph.D., Functional Anatomy and Evolution Program, 1990.
Chris Beard studies the origin and early evolutionary history of primates and other mammals. Longstanding focal points of Beard’s research have included the macroevolutionary events surrounding the origin of the order Primates and its major clades, particularly anthropoids. Another priority is to document and interpret major episodes of faunal turnover in the fossil record, especially that which transpired across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary. Beard is especially interested in understanding how changes in the Earth’s physical environment, including major tectonic events and ancient episodes of climate change, have impacted the biogeography and evolutionary history of primates and other mammals. Current field projects are both domestic and international in scope, ranging from the Paleocene and Eocene of southwestern Wyoming to the early Cenozoic of China, Myanmar, Turkey and Libya.
Selected Awards & Honors
MacArthur Fellowship, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (awarded in 2000).
Phi Beta Kappa Society Science Book Award for The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey (2005).
W.W. Howells Book Award for The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey, Biological Anthropology Section, American Anthropological Association (2005).