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W. Scott Persons

Assistant Professor, Museum Curator


Macalester College
B.A. Geology, 2008

University of Alberta
Ph.D. Evolution and Systematics, 2016

Research Interests

  • Dinosaurs
  • Macroevolutionary Trends in the Fossil Record
  • Biomechanics and Functional Morphology
  • Flight and Feather Evolution
  • The Ecology of Giant Monsters

Courses Taught

GEOL 105 Earth History
GEOL 200 Age of Dinosaurs
GEOL 266 Virtual Expedition in Paleontology
GEOL 333 Paleobiology
GEOL 366 Geology and Paleontology Field Studies

Honors and Awards

Discover’s 50 Top Science Stories of 2019 Discover Magazine  

Gold Medal Winner – Juvenile/Young Adult Non-Fiction 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards, for Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands 

Discover’s 100 Top Science Stories of 2015 Discover Magazine 


Persons WS, Street HP, Kelley A. 2022. A long-snouted and long-necked polycotylid plesiosaur from the Late Cretaceous of North America. iScience. 25(10). 

Persons WS. 2018. Dinosaurs of the Albertan Badlands. Harbour Publishing.  

Holmes, RB, Persons, WS, Rupal, BS, Qureshi, AJ, Currie, PJ. 2020. Morphological variation and assymetrical development in the skull of Styracosaurus albertensis. Cretaceous Research 107: 104308. 

Persons, WS, Currie PJ. 2019. Feather evolution exemplifies sexually selected bridges across the adaptive landscape. Evolution. 

Persons WS, Currie PJ, Arbour V, Vavrel M, Koppelhus EB, Edwards J. 2019. Dinosaurs 101: What Everyone Should Know About Dinosaur Anatomy, Ecology, Evolution, and More. Van Rye Publishing, LLC. 

Persons WS, Erickson GM, Currie PJ. 2019. An older and exceptionally large adult specimen of Tyrannosaurus rex. The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology. 

Persons WS, Currie PJ. 2019. The anatomical and functional evolution of the femoral fourth trochanter in ornithischian dinosaurs. The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology. 

Bell PR, Campione NE, Persons WS, Currie PJ, Larson PL, Tanke DH, Bakker RT. Tyrannosauroid integument reveals conflicting patterns of gigantism and feather evolution. 2017. Biology Letters 13.6: 20170092 

Persons WS, Currie PJ. The functional origin of dinosaur bipedalism: cumulative evidence from bipedally inclined reptiles and disinclined mammals. 2017. The Journal of Theoretical Biology 420: 1-7 

Persons WS, Currie PJ. 2015. Bristles before down: A new perspective on the functional origin of feathers. Evolution 69: 857-862. 


Press & Media

TedX Talk How to Evolve Flight: Fossils, Feathers, and Sex Appeal 

Live Science Newfound 'snaky croc-face' sea monster unearthed in Wyoming 

CBS Mornings First look at Scotty, the largest T. rex to roam the earth 

Daily Mail Why Dinosaurs learned to Walk on Two Leggs  

“We have a grand natural history museum here that gives undergraduate students the possibility to get their hands dirty and work directly on fossil specimens. When I was in high school, I was very frustrated by the lack of places where I could pursue my passion for paleontology as an undergrad. If the College of Charleston was in the spot where it is now back then, it would have been at the top of my list, no question about it.”

The College Today