Thomas E. Williamson

Vertebrate Paleontology, Stratigraphy


My position as Curator of Paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and Adjunct Assistant Professor of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico has allowed me to educate a broad and diverse public about paleontology and other science topics.

I have also presented numerous public talks at the Museum, area schools, and other venues about current topics including dinosaurs, mass extinctions, and climate change. I have also appeared on numerous local and national cable and network television and radio shows including the Today Show (1996), Discovery Channel (1997, 2007), NBC Dateline (1997), the Learning Channel (1997), GEO (Europe, 1997), NPR (1997), and CNN (1997). I recently participated in two of KNME’s, the local public television station, sponsored “Science Cafe” (2008, 2009). 

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science receives several hundred thousand visitors per year and well serves New Mexico’s culturally diverse population. I manage and participate in the planning and designing of exhibits at the Museum that educate the public about my own research and other science-related topics. I served as curator for the Museum’s permanent exhibits that include FossilWorks (1996) and New Mexico’s Seacoast (2003). An interactive component of the Museum’s New Mexico’s Seacoast exhibit, “The Dating Game” was awarded the Bronze Muse award in 2004 by the American Association of Museums ( An additional outreach tool that I assisted in developing is the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Specimen and Locality Database ( This allows researchers as well as the general public have easy and quick access to specimen and locality data.

My recent National Science Foundation grants (EAR 0207750 and EAR1325544) and Bureau of Land Management awards (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012) support research projects included Native American undergraduate students (Lavina Becenti, Jimmy Benally, Al Blackhorse, Garrett Briggs, Utahna Denetclaw, and Will Tsosie) from Diné College and the University of New Mexico, Gallup. Native American students are the most underrepresented group in the geosciences. As part of these projects, students participated in every aspect of research including data collection in the field, curation of fossil specimens, research, and presentation of papers at annual meetings of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. In addition, I worked with students to present aspects of our research to classes and science teachers at schools in the Four Corners Area (including the University of New Mexico, Gallup; Navajo Technical College, Diné College, Window Rock, AZ; These projects successfully introduced many students to research and involved impoverished communities in integrative science education.

Willow Wash


NSF Logo