Michael D. Gottfried

Michael D. Gottfried photo

Vertebrate Paleontology
Associate Professor
 309 Natural Science
 (517) 432-7445


My research on vertebrate fossils includes expeditions exploring for fossils in Madagascar, New Zealand, the Rift Valley of Tanzania, across much of the western USA, and more recently in Antarctica and the Canadian Arctic. I study different aspects of the evolutionary response to the break-up of the ancient Southern Hemisphere supercontinent of Gondwana, mainly focusing on fossil fishes and sharks, and I look at what the fossil record can tell us about deep-time environmental change at high latitudes. My research in another area, the evolution of giant fossil sharks, led to several on-camera appearances in documentary films for the Discovery Channel (including ‘Shark Week’) and National Geographic Television. Along with my teaching on-campus, I have also been very involved in leading students on MSU Study Abroad programs to Iceland and Antarctica.

Recent Publications

  • Gottfried, M.D., K. Samonds, S. Ostrowski, T. Andrianavalona, and T. Ramihangihajason. 2017. New evidence indicates the presence of barracuda (Sphyraenidae) and supports a tropical marine environment in the Miocene of Madagascar. PLOS One doi.ord/10.1371/journal.pone.0176553.
  • Veach, A. and M.D. Gottfried. 2016. Morphological observations and body size estimates based on lamnoid shark vertebral centra from the Late Cretaceous of Seymour Island, Antarctica. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 36A:243.
  • Gottfried, M.D. and R.E. Fordyce. 2015. A Late Triassic chimaeroid egg capsule from New Zealand: early evidence of chimaeroid reproductive mode from the eastern margin of Gondwana. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 13(5):371-375.
  • Eberle, J.E., M.D. Gottfried, J.H. Hutchison, and C. Brochu. 2014. First record of Eocene Bony Fishes and Crocodyliforms from Canada's western Arctic. PLOS One 9(5):e96079.
  • Gottfried, M.D. 2014. Cooperative foraging behavior by crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophaga) at Pleneau Island, Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctic Science 26(3):263-264.


  • GLG412 - Glacial Geology-Climate Change
  • GLG433 - Vertebrate Paleontology
  • ISB200 - History of Life
  • ISP203a - Global Change
  • Program Director for MSU Study Abroad in Iceland and Antarctica