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Kathlyn Smith

Kathlyn Smith, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Geology
Office: Herty, 1116
Phone: 912-478-5398

Academic Background

Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2010

  • Major: Geology, emphasis in vertebrate paleontology
  • Dissertation title: Life histories of female American mastodons (Mammut americanum): evidence from tusk morphology, stable isotope records, and growth increments

M.S., Michigan State University, 2004

  • Major: Geological Sciences, emphasis in vertebrate paleontology
  • Thesis title: Metapodial restructuring in Mammut and Recent elephants: evidence of disease or physical stress?

B.S., Purdue University, 2001

  • Major: Solid Earth Science
  • Minor: English


My research interests involve the paleoecology, biogeography, and evolution of Cenozoic mammals. Current research projects include: morphology and stable isotope ecology of American mastodons in the Atlantic Coastal Plain, evolution and dispersal of the ancient whale Basilosaurus in the southeastern coastal plain of North America, and paleoecology and taxonomy of middle Pleistocene elephants from the Western Cape Province, South Africa. I am also interested in sclerochronology, and have applied sclerochronological techniques to teeth of mastodons, sauropod dinosaurs, and mosasaurs (extinct marine reptiles).


I teach a number of introductory and upper-level geology courses at Georgia Southern, including Paleontology, General Historical Geology, Dinosaurs, Extinctions, and Disasters, Environmental Geology Lab, Introduction to Research, and Senior Seminar. I have also given guest lectures in courses such as Evolution and Extinction (Biology) and Biogeography (Geography).


Groenwald, Patricia*, Deano Stynder, Judy Sealy, and Kathlyn M. Smith. 2020. Dietary resource  partitioning among three coeval proboscidean taxa (Anancus capensis, Mammuthus subplanifrons, Loxodonta cookei) from the South African early Pliocene locality of Langebaanweg  E Quarry. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 543:XX-XX. 

R.M. Bebej and Kathlyn M. Smith. 2018. Lumbar mobility in archaeocetes (Mammalia: Cetacea) and the  evolution of aquatic locomotion in the earliest whales. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society  182(3):695-721. 

Smith, Kathlyn M. and Deano D. Stynder. 2015. Biogeography and molar morphology of Pleistocene  African elephants: new evidence from Elandsfontein, Western Cape Province, South Africa.  Quaternary Science Reviews 115:101-111.  

D’Emic, Michael D., Kathlyn M. Smith, and Zachary T. Ansley*. 2015. Unusual costal bone morphology  and histology of the ribs of mosasaurs (Squamata). Palaeontology. doi: 10.1111/pala.12157. Smith, Kathlyn M. and Daniel C. Fisher. 2013. Sexual dimorphism and inter-generic variation in  proboscidean tusks: multivariate assessment of American mastodons (Mammut americanum)  and extant African elephants. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 20(4): 279-360.

Smith, KS, and Fisher, DC. 2013 (published online). Sexual dimorphism and inter-generic variation in proboscidean tusks: multivariate assessment of American mastodons (Mammut americanum) and extant African elephants. Journal of Mammalian Evolution DOI 10.1007/s10914-013-9225-6.

Smith, KS, and Fisher, DC. 2011. Sexual dimorphism of structures showing indeterminate growth: tusks of American mastodons (Mammut americanum). Paleobiology 37(2):175-194.

Last updated: 8/7/2023