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John P. Alexander

Fossil Primates and Paleoecology


In 1988 a peculiar skeleton was brought to me while serving as Collection Manager of Fossil Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Since my academic training was in physical anthropology, I recognized this 49 million year old specimen to be one of the most complete fossil primates ever found in North America. This skeleton lead me to change my masters thesis from an analysis of the Folsom Bison Quarry to a description of the facial skeleton of the Eocene primate Notharctus. I have I have conducted an ongoing field research project in the Bridger Basin of southwestern Wyoming since1991. During that period I have discovered and prepared more Eocene primate skeletons than any other person alive. In the process of looking for these ancient lemurs, I have become familiar with the entire Bridgerian fauna from tiny ground-nesting bees to huge extinct crocodiles. In recent years I have had the privilege of collecting many such specimens for the Burke Museum paleontology collection.



Master of Arts Degree Anthropology: June, 1993 from Hunter College, CUNY.

Bachelor of Arts Degree Anthropology: May 19, 1979 from the University of Arizona.


2003. Hogg, Alexander, Delman and Marquez. Computer tomographic analysis of growth and development in juvenile apapiform primates from the Eocene of North American, American Journal of Physical Anthropology (AJPA). Supplement 29, AAPA Abstracts.

2001. Alexander and Solounias. A uniquely specialized nasal region in an ancient tapir. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (JVP) Abstracts, 21 (sup. 3): 27A.

2001. Alexander and Burger. Stratigraphy and taphomomy of Grizzly Buttes, Bridger Formation, Middle Eocene of Wyoming. Eocene Vertebrates: Unusual Occurrences and Rarely Sampled Habitats, ed. Gregg F. Gunnell, Plenum.

1999. Alexander and MacPhee. Skull morphology of Omomys carteri. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology JVP Abstracts, 19 (sup. 3): 29A.

1999. Burger and Alexander. The skeletal anatomy of Hyopsodus and its bearing on the origin of ungulate mammals. JVP Abstracts, 19 (sup. 3): 34A.

1999. Rose, MacPhee and Alexander. Cranium of early Eocene Cantius abditus and its phylogenetic implications, with a reevaluation of "Hesperolemur" actius. American Journal of Physical Anthropology (AJPA) 109:523-539.

1999. Alexander and MacPhee. Skull of Omomys carteri, an Eocene omomyid primate. Supplement 25, AAPA Abstracts, AJPA.

1998. Alexander and Burger. Stratigraphy and Taphonomy of Grizzly Buttes, Wyoming. JVP Abstracts of papers, 18 (sup. 3): 23A.

1996. Hamrick and Alexander. The Hand Skeleton of Notharctus tenebrosus (Primates, Notharctidae), and its Significance for the Origin of Primate Hand Structure and Function. American Museum Novitates 3182:1-20.

1996. Alexander. Elements of the hyoid apparatus of several Eocene adapiform primates. JVP Abstracts, 16 (sup. 3): 19A.

1996. Alexander. New extraction and preparation techniques for well preserved Bridger Formation fossils. JVP Abstracts, 16 (sup. 3): 19A.

1996. Rose, MacPhee and Alexander. Cranium of early Eocene Cantius abditus and its phylogenetic implications. Supplement 22, AAPA Abstracts.

1995. Froehlich, Alexander and Froehlich. Pelycodus Premolars and other New Specimens from the San Jose Formation of New Mexico. JVP Abstracts, 15 (sup. 3): 30A.

1995. Mader and Alexander. Megacerops kuwagatarhinus sp. nov. an unusual horned brontothere (Mammalia, Perissodactyla) with distally forked horns. Journal of Paleontology 69 (3): 581-587.

1994. Alexander. Sexual Dimorphism in Notharctid Primates. Folia Primatol.63:59-62.

1994. Alexander. Sympatry of two species of Notharctus in the Bridger Basin, Wyoming. JVP Abstracts, 14 (sup. 3): 14A.

1992. Alexander. Reconstructions of Crania of the Notharctid Genera Cantius, Pelycodus, Notharctus and Smilodectes JVP Abstracts, 12 (sup, 3): 15A.

1992. Alexander. Alas Poor Notharctus. Natural History, August.

1991. Alexander. New Skeletons of Notharctus tenebrosus from the Bridger Basin, Wyoming. JVP Abstracts, 11 (sup. 3): 14A.