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Paleontologists


David Parris, M.A., M.S.

Paleontologist

Mr. Parris has thirty-five years of experience as a professional paleontologist in eastern North America. Since 1971, his primary employment has been in curatorial positions at the New Jersey State Museum. Having received academic training at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (M.S., Paleontology) and Princeton University (M.A. and Ph.D. Candidate, Geology), he has frequently worked with Quaternary fossils, both in archaeology and paleontology. He has published more than one hundred technical articles including many on the Pleistocene fauna of New Jersey, Quaternary mammals from the Virginia coastal plain, paleosalinity of the Hudson River based on zooarchaeology, Pleistocene fossils recovered from continental shelf dredging, and Pleistocene cave faunas. During 2004, he served as a consultant with Hunter Research, Inc. for the Army Corps of Engineers in production of training programs for the recovery of offshore archaeological and paleontological specimens, speaking on the subject at several professional meetings. Other consultant positions throughout his career have dealt with the recovery, identification, conservation, and interpretation of vertebrate resources.

Mr. Parris began his involvement in natural and cultural resource evaluations and recoveries early in his career, while working for the United States National Park Service. Subsequently, as a curatorial professional at the New Jersey State Museum, he performed fossil resource evaluations at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. His other experience with paleontology of federal and tribal tracts includes scientific collecting permits with the Bureau of Land Management (U. S. Department of the Interior), National Forest Service (U.S. Department of Agriculture), and The Crow Creek Nation. For the last twenty years he has participated as an investigator in projects on tracts of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Missouri River Basin in South Dakota, a joint project of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology with the New Jersey State Museum. Based on these experiences, he has been an active participant in conferences and hearings on federal policies involving vertebrate fossil resources.

 

Jason P. Shein, M.S.

Paleontologist

Jason began his career as the Interim Assistant Curator of Natural History Education at the New Jersey State Museum in 2007, and subsequently became a permanent member of the staff as an Assistant Curator of Natural History. This position involves many duties, including curating exhibitions, planning and implementing educational programming, developing the plans for the renovation of the Museum’s Natural History Hall, and conduct research into the state’s natural history resources. 

Jason’s primary interests reflect his academic background in geology, paleontology, and paleoecology at Auburn University, as well as his early field-based paleontological experiences in the Late Cretaceous marine units of the Southeast and Western Interior regions of North America. These interests have since extended to the east coast of North America, as the paleontological similarity among these regions is so pronounced. Today, the majority of my research is devoted to the vertebrate animals, including turtles, crocodiles, fish, and mosasaurs, that inhabited the shallow seas off of New Jersey’s Late Cretaceous coasts. Other interests now include New Jersey’s Pleistocene (Ice Age) faunas as well. 


More recently, Jason has extended his research interests into the fields of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs and their ecosystems throughout North America and beyond. As a part of Drexel University’s Southern Patagonia Dinosaur Project, lead by Dr. Kenneth J. Lacovara, he is helping to excavate and study some of the world’s largest and newest dinosaurs in southern Argentina and their ecosystems.