Curator of fossil marine mammals at the National Museum of Natural History, Nick Pyenson is a vertebrate paleontologist whose research focuses on major land-to-sea ecological transitions in the past 245 million years. To understand how and why five different mammal lineages (for example, whales, seals, sea cows) and over a dozen different reptile lineages (such as mosasaurs, ichthyosaurs, turtles) independently entered the oceans, he has participated in paleontological fieldwork on every continent except Antarctica. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and did postdoctoral research at the University of British Columbia.
Nick Pyenson was a featured speaker at Smithsonian magazine’s The Future is Here conference on June 1. See a video of his talk below: