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Dr. Josh Schmerge

Josh SchmergeInstructional Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
The University of Mississippi


Office: 312 Shoemaker Hall
Telephone: (662) 915-3239


Ph.D., 2015, Geology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

M.S., 2011, Geology (honors), University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

B.S., 2007, Geology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY

Honors and Awards:

2022    Nominated for Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in the School of Math and Science at LCCC.

2016    Recipient of Research Award sponsored by KC Gem & Mineral Show

2015    Recipient of the Erasmus A. Haworth Outstanding Student Award for academic achievement and contribution to the Geology Department.

2015    First place award for oral presentation by PhD student, Kansas Academy of Science Annual Meeting.


BISC 102 Inquiry Into Life: Human Biology

BISC 104 Inquiry Into Life: The Environment

Teaching Interests:

I enjoy teaching introductory biology courses. I enjoy teaching the functions of the various organ systems in human biology, teaching about evolutionary theory, and most importantly – helping students to think like biologists in their every day and professional lives!

Research Interests:

My primary research interests are in the field of vertebrate paleontology. I am interested in the fossil history and functional anatomy of burrowing rodent species. I have investigated the incisor anatomy of living rodents to better understand their correlation with diet and behavior and to facilitate better interpretation of the lifestyles of extinct rodents. I have studied the convergent evolution of burrowing beavers from the Miocene of the North American Midwest. I have also studied the cranial anatomy and evolutionary relationships of tyrannosaurid theropods to provide insight into the taxonomic validity of the dinosaur Nanotyrannus lancensis, which has been variously described as a dwarf tyrannosaur species or a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex.


  • Schmerge, J.D., and B. M. Rothschild. 2016. When a groove is not a groove: clarification of the appearance of the dentary groove in tyrannosaurid theropods and the distinction between Nanotyrannus and Tyrannosaurus. Reply to Comment on: “Distribution of the dentary groove of theropod dinosaurs: implications for theropod phylogeny and the validity of the genus Nanotyrannus Bakker et al., 1988”. Cretaceous Research 65:238–243.
  • Schmerge, J. D., and B. M. Rothschild. 2016. Distribution of the dentary groove of theropod dinosaurs: Implications for theropod phylogeny and the validity of the genus Nanotyrannus Bakker et al., 1988. Cretaceous Research 61:26–33.
  • Schmerge, J. D. 2015. Interpretation of euhapsine (Castoridae: Palaeocastorinae) burrowing behaviors based on the functional anatomy of the teeth and skull with a description of a new species and genus. PhD Dissertation, University of Kansas. 316 p.
  • Schmerge, J. D., D. J. Riese, and S. T. Hasiotis. 2013. Vinegaroon (Arachnida: Thelyphonida: Thelyphonidae) trackway production and morphology: Implications for media and moisture control in trackway morphology and a proposal for a novel system of interpreting arthropod trace fossils. PALAIOS 28:116–128.
  • Schmerge, J. D. 2011. A statistical examination of the change in body size of mammalian communities across the Eocene–Oligocene Boundary. Master’s Thesis. University of Kansas. 84 p.