Biology & Marine Biology

Faculty & Staff

Jackson Spradley, Lecturer

image of Jackson Spradley, Lecturer

Ph.D., Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, NC, 2017
B.A., Anthropology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 2012
Friday Hall 1057 | (910) 962-3472 | 601 S. College Road, Wilmington, NC, 28403

Research Interests:

My research interests involve the paleoecology of extinct mammalian taxa as well as the evolution of mammalian communities in the context of changing climates and environments. Specifically, my research focuses on the biogeography of the South American continent, and in particular three mammalian taxa: Primates, Rodentia, and Metatheria. In order to approach these broader topics, we first must have some grasp as to how extinct animals behaved. To do this, we rely on the morphology of fossils and their similarity (or dissimilarity) to the bones of animal species living today. My research has specifically focused on the dentition, as teeth are the most common skeletal element found in the mammalian fossil record, and are particularly informative for reconstructing dietary habit (an essential component of an organism’s ecology). Through broad comparative studies including fossil and extant taxa, we can produce informed reconstructions of paleoecology, and ultimately study larger patterns of change in mammalian communities.

My research frequently involves trips to the field for the purpose of fossil collection and identification. Field sites in which I have worked include: the Devil’s Graveyard Formation in West Texas, the Santa Cruz formation in southern Patagonia, and Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. Students interested in research projects relating to paleontology or paleoecology are welcome to email me at


Spradley, J.P., Glander, K.E., Kay, R.F. 2016. Dust in the Wind: How climate variables and volcanic dust affect rates of tooth wear in Central American howling monkeys. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 159(2): 210-222.

Pampush, J.D., Spradley, J.P., Morse, P.E., Harrington, A.R., Allen, K.L., Boyer, D.M., Kay, R.F. 2016. Wear and its effects on dental topography measures in howling monkeys (Alouatta palliata). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 161(4): 705-721.

Spradley, J.P., Pampush, J.D., Morse, P.E., Kay, R.F. 2017. Smooth Operator: Observations on the effects of different 3D mesh retriangulation protocols on the computation of Dirichlet normal energy. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 163(1): 94-109.