I am a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where I have taught since August 2013. Previously I taught at Tulane University, the State University of New York at Geneseo, and Western Michigan University. I was trained in Biological Anthropology with specializations in primate functional morphology and primate paleontology at the University of Washington (Ph.D., 1988) after an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Oregon (BA, 1977).
My major research interest is in the evolution of primates and other mammals in North America during the Paleocene and Eocene Epochs (ca. 66 to 34 mya), and my primary field site is the Great Divide Basin of southwestern Wyoming, where I have been leading geology/paleontology crews since the middle 1990’s, collecting approximately 15,000 vertebrate specimens from more than 100 localities in the process.
I am also interested in hominin evolution and have done fieldwork in the Miocene of Kenya and Mozambique, and the Plio-Pleistocene of South Africa. In collaboration with my colleagues Jay Emerson (Western Michigan University) and Glenn Conroy (Washington University) we have contributed to the application of remote sensing technologies and other tools from the geographic information sciences in vertebrate paleontology and paleoanthropology. In effect, we are attempting to create a new, geospatially-informed, vertebrate paleontology that we refer to as Geospatial Paleontology. With NSF funding (2012-2015) we have been developing and testing predictive models for paleontological site location in Wyoming based on a variety of different analytical approaches to the classification of satellite imagery. We have also pioneered the use of unmanned aerial systems (both quad copter and fixed wing models) in paleontological surveying and fieldwork in Wyoming. Recently I have worked with colleagues João Coelho, Rene Bobé, and Susana Carvalho from the University of Oxford in applying geospatial models to the identification of Miocene hominoid sites in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. This work resulted in a 2021 paper demonstrating the use of unsupervised classification of Landsat imagery for predicting vertebrate fossil bearing localities.
I am married to Joyce Kubiski, Associate Professor of Art History at Western Michigan University, and we are the parents of three adopted children from Ethiopia (Wondimu, Helen and Wondissen) and one biological child (Giancarlo). Our family is currently distributed between Kalamazoo (Wondissen), Lansing (Wondimu), Grand Rapids (Giancarlo), Chicago (Helen), and Greensboro, NC (Joyce and I).
In addition to my academic and family life, I am a musician and a dedicated motorcyclist. I love to listen to and play Americana music, Bluegrass, Blues and especially the music of The Grateful Dead on my acoustic (Martin D18GE) and electric (Fender Telecaster) guitars. I play acoustic guitar in a Grateful Dead cover band formed of UNCG faculty, students, staff, and alumni known as Spartans Play Dead. I currently own a couple of motorcycles, several of which actually run! Recently I had to say good bye to my 2006 Ducati Multistrada 620 Dark. and replaced it with a 2020 BMW F900 XR. My main project bike is a 1976 Honda CB-750, which I am in the process of rebuilding and hope to bring back to life over the next few years as a cafe racer. A final product something like this one would be nice!