I am the Senior Curator of Palaeontology at JCU and the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville. I have a special interest in the diversity, evolution and ecology of Mesozoic reptiles, such as ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and dinosaurs. Current projects, involving fieldwork throughout Australia, aim to fill significant gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous vertebrate fauna in the southern hemisphere.

Previously I have been involved in pioneering work on Jurassic and Cretaceous marine faunas of the High Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard, and in fieldwork in The Netherlands (Triassic) and USA (Cretaceous).

If you are interested in doing either a Bachelor, Masters or PhD project in vertebrate palaeontology, please contact me. Currently I have projects in the following topics (although others can be discussed): 

Early Triassic vertebrates from central Queensland

Cretaceous marine reptiles from Queensland

Micro-vertebrate diversity in the Early Cretaceous Toolebuc Formation, Queensland

Triassic trace fossil fauna in central Queensland

  • EA3120: The Fossil Record: Dinosaurs and Vertebrates Through Time (Level 3; TSV)
  • EA5120: The Fossil Record: Dinosaurs and Vertebrates Through Time (Level 5; TSV)
  • MB1110: Introductory Marine Science (Level 1; TSV)
  • Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Palaeontology, Vertebrates, Dinosaurs, Marine Reptiles, Arctic, Biogeography, Australia, Biodiversity, Evolution
  • 2008 to 2012 - PhD, University of Oslo (Norway)
  • 2005 to 2007 - MSc, University of Oslo (Norway)
  • 2002 to 2005 - BSc, University of Oslo (Norway)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australia's Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation - Australian Synchrotron Access Program

Extinction Recovery Fauna from Triassic Queensland

Indicative Funding
Ecosystem responses during and after past mass extinctions, give clues to what to expect from future such events. The end-Permian mass extinction, 252 mya, was the largest in earth?s history. The event saw the end of the ?old? ecosystems dominated by amphibians and the ancestors of mammals, and the dawn of the age of reptiles, including dinosaurs. To fill gaps to a clear understanding of the Permian- Triassic extinction recovery story in Australia this project will micro-CT scan recently collected vertebrate material from Queensland.
Espen Knutsen (College of Science & Engineering)
Dinosaurs; Recovery; Triassic; Extinction; Permian; Fossil

Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering - Australian Synchrotron Access Program

Digital preparation and constituent analysis of rare vertebrate remains from the Jurassic rocks of Western Australia rocks of Western Australia.

Indicative Funding
Our current record of Jurassic (201?145mya) Australian terrestrial vertebrates is very scanty, comprising of a handful of specimens. Recently collected material from Western Australia, including a dinosaur tail vertebra, consists of single elements preserved mainly as natural casts. That is, cavities left behind by dissolved bones subsequently filled by sedimentary rock, such as sandstone. These natural casts were preserved in sandstone and consist of sand grains supported by a gossanous matrix. Synchrotron data may aid in the digital removal of the surrounding sandstone from the natural casts, and also to delineate the constituents of the casts themselves.
Espen Knutsen (College of Science & Engineering)
Jurassic; Tetrapod; Palaeontology; Synchrotron; Dinosaur; Fossil

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Palaeoenvironment and palaeovalley gold provenance of the Lefroy Palaeodrainage System, Western Australia and its implications for future placer gold exploration. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Jurassic Arc? Reconstructing the Lost World of Eastern Australia (PhD , Primary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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