Leonard R. Brand
Professor of biology and paleontology
PhD, Cornell University, 1970


Email: lbrand@llu.edu


Phone: (909) 558-1000 extension 48910

Fields of research and teaching: taphonomy, ichnology, vertebrate paleontology, mammalogy, and philosophy of science

Current and recent research

Experimental taphonomy of vertebrates. Study of the decay and disarticulation of modern vertebrates in aquatic and terrestrial situations. This information is very helpful in interpreting fossil assemblages.

Fossil trackways of the Permian Coconino Sandstone in Arizona. Analysis of the characteristics of the vertebrate and invertebrate trackways and comparison with modern analogues, as an aid to understanding the paleoecology of the Coconino Sandstone. The available evidence points to underwater formation of vertebrate trackways, and the apparent contradiction between this and the sedimentology has not yet been resolved.

Taphonomy and paleoecology of the Eocene Bridger Formation in southwest Wyoming. Study of the abundant fossil turtles, and their relationship to other vertebrate fossils and the associated sediments is underway. The goal is to better understand the depositional environment and depositional processes of the Bridger. An extensive mapping project of Bridger B is nearly completed.

Taphonomy of fossil whales in the Miocene/Pliocene Pisco Formation of Peru. Well-preserved whales are abundant in the Pisco Formation, most of them in diatomite. Study of the taphonomy of the whales and the sedimentology of the associated diatomite and other sediment is in progress.

Selected publications

(for pdf's of publications, go to individual research links above)

Brand, L., P. C. Murphey, and J. E. Haessig. In press. Bedrock geologic map of the Linwood Canyon 7.5' Quadrangle, Sweetwater County, Wyoming. Wyoming State Geologic Survey Open File Map, 1 sheet (scale 1;24,000)

Brand, L., P. C. Murphey, and J. E. Haessig. In press. Bedrock geologic map of the Antelope Wash 7.5' Quadrangle, Sweetwater County, Wyoming. Wyoming State Geological Survey Open File Map, 1 sheet (scale 1:24,000).


Esperante, R., L. Brand, K. Nick, O. Poma, and M. Urbina. 2008. Exceptional occurrence of fossil baleen in shallow marine sediments of the Neogene Pisco Formation, Southern Peru. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 257:344-360.

Brand, L. R. 2007. Lacustrine deposition in the Bridger Formation: Lake Gosiute extended. The Mountain Geologist, 44:69-77.

Brand, L. R., R. Esperante, A. Chadwick, O. Poma, and M. Alomia. 2004. Fossil whale preservation implies high diatom accumulation rate in the Miocene-Pliocene Pisco Formation of Peru. Geology, 32:165-168.

Brand, L. R., M. Hussey, and J. Taylor. 2003. Decay and disarticulation of small vertebrates in controlled experiments. Journal of Taphonomy, 1 (2): 69-95.

Brand, L. R., M. Hussey, and J. Taylor. 2003. Experimental taphonomy of turtles. Journal of Taphonomy, 1 (4) 2003 (2004):233-245.

Esperante-Caamano, R., L. Brand, A. Chadwick, and O. Poma. 2002. Taphonomy of fossil whales in the diatomaceous sediments of the Miocene/Pliocene Pisco Formation, Peru. pp. 337-343 In: De Renzi, M., M. Alonso, M. Belinchon, E. Penalver, P. Montoya, and A. Marquez-Aliaga (eds.). Current Topics on Taphonomy and Fossilization. International Conference Taphos 2002. 3rd Meeting on Taphonomy and Fossilization, Valencia, Spain.

Brand, L. R., H. T. Goodwin, P. G. Ambrose, and H. P. Buchheim.   2000.  Taphonomy of  turtles in the Middle Eocene Bridger Formation, SW Wyoming.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 162:171-189.

Buchheim, H. P., L. R. Brand, and H. T. Goodwin.  2000.  Lacustrine to fluvial flood-plain deposition in the Eocene Bridger Formation.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 162:191-209.

Brand, L. R. 1996. Variations in salamander trackways resulting from substrate differences. Jour. of Paleontol., 70:1004-1010.

Brand, L.R., and J. Kramer. 1996. Underprints of vertebrate and invertebrate trackways in the Permian Coconino Sandstone in Arizona. Ichnos, 4:225-230.

Brand, L. R. 1995. An improved high-precision Jacob's staff design. Jour. Sedim. Res., A65:561.

Brand, L. R. 1992. Reply to comments on "fossil vertebrate footprints in the Coconino Sandstone (Permian) of northern Arizona: evidence for underwater origin." Geology, 20:668-670.

Brand, L.R. and T. Tang. 1991. Fossil vertebrate footprints in the Coconino Sandstone [Permian] of northern Arizona: evidence for underwater origin. Geology, 19:1201-1204. Comments on this paper are in: Science News, 141 (4):5, 1992; Geology Today, 8 (3):78-79, 1992; and Nature, 355:110, 9 Jan., 1992.

Brand, L. R. & G. Dupper. 1982. Dental impression materials useful for making molds of fossils. Jour. Paleont., 56:1305-1307.


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