Dr. Karen Chin – Paleontologist


Dr. Karen Chin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado. She also holds a position as Curator of Paleontology at the University of Colorado Museum. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Santa Barbara, 1996.

Dr. Chin says she was always interested in science, but when she was young she was only interested in living organisms. At one point, though, she got a job with Jack Horner at the Museum of the Rockies, and there she discovered how intriguing fossils are. She was a graduate student studying modern grasslands at Montana State at the time, but quickly dedicated herself to her new interest.

Her interests lie in Mesozoic paleoecology. She is especially interested in what coprolitesDr_Karen_Chin_2 (fossil feces) reveal about the biology of dinosaurs and other vertebrates. Dr. Chin has an active field program in the Rocky Mountain region. There she investigates the structure and dynamics of ancient ecosystems, focusing on the Mesozoic Era (65 to 250 million years ago). Most of her work focuses on tapping information available in coprolites, but she also examines other trace and body fossils. She says she uses a multidisciplinary approach by examining geological, chemical, and biological characteristics of the fossils she finds.

At the University of Colorado besides her research she teaches courses in Paleobiology, Evolution of Life: the Fossil Record, and a graduate seminar on Paleoenvironmental (quite a mouthful) Evidence.

I found a video in which she appears as a guest. You’ll find her at 5:04.

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