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Dr. Alton Dooley, Curator of Paleontology

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Professional Titles

  • Curator of Paleontology, Virginia Museum of Natural History
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Geology, Virginia Tech
  • Research Associate, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


  • Ph.D. in Geology, Louisiana State University, 1991-1998
  • BA in Geology, Carleton College,  1987-1991

Professional Experience

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Geology, Radford University
  • Adjunct Instructor of Geology, Virginia Western Community College
  • Adjunct Instructor of Geology, Ferrum College
  • Instructor, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University
  • Teacher, Jackson High School, Jackson, Louisiana
  • Research Assistant, Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science
  • Lab Assistant, Department of Geology, Carleton College
  • Planetarium Operator, Science Museum of Western Virginia
  • Volunteer, Smithsonian Institution
  • Volunteer, Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo

Research Interests

  • Evolution and distribution of whales since the early Miocene
  • Fauna and paleoenvironment of the Carmel Church Quarry
  • Marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Miocene Virginia
  • Earth science and evolution education

Recent Professional Service

  • Member, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
  • Member, Paleontological Society
  • Member, National Association of Geoscience Teachers
  • Member, Sigma Xi
  • Member, Paleontological Society

Selected Publications

  • Moncrief, N. D. and A. C. Dooley, Jr., 2013. Using fluorescence of bones and teeth to detect remains of the eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) in archaeological deposits. Southeastern Archaeology 32:46-53.
  • Beatty, B. L. and A. C. Dooley, Jr., 2013. The first terrestrial mammal from the Late Miocene Eastover Formation of Virginia. Jeffersoniana 29:1-6.
  • Dooley, A. C. Jr. and N. D. Moncrief, 2012. Fluorescence provides evidence of congenital erythropoietic porphyria in 7000-year-old specimens of the eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) from The Devil’s Den. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32:495-497.
  • Beatty, B. L. and Dooley, A. C. Jr., 2009. Injuries in a mysticete skeleton from the Miocene of Virginia, with a discussion of buoyancy and the primitive feeding mode in the Chaeomysticeti. Jeffersoniana No. 20, 28 pp.
  • Dooley, A. C. Jr., 2009. Unusual Cambrian thrombolites from the Boxley Blue Ridge Quarry, Bedford County, Virginia. Jeffersoniana No. 19:1-14.
  • Fraser, N. C, P. E. Olsen, A. C. Dooley Jr., and T. R. Ryan, 2007. A new gliding tetrapod (Diapsida: ?Archosauromorpha) from the Upper Triassic (Carnian) of Virginia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 27(2):261-265. 
  • Dooley, A. C. Jr., 2007. Barstovian (middle Miocene) Land Mammals from the Carmel Church Quarry, Caroline County, Virginia. Jeffersoniana, No. 18, 17 p.
  • Dooley, A. C. Jr., 2005. A new species of Squalodon (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Middle Miocene of eastern North America. Virginia Museum of Natural History Memoir 8, 43 p.
  • Dooley, A. C. Jr., 2005. Miocene vertebrate fossils from the Potomac River, Westmoreland County, Virginia. in Ward, L. W. and Dooley, A. C. Jr., eds. Geology and Paleontology of the Stratford Hall Plantation and Westmoreland State Park. Virginia Museum of Natural History Guidebook No. 5, p. 23-42.
  • Dooley, A. C, Jr., Fraser, N. C.. and Luo, Z.-X., 2004. The earliest known member of the rorqual-gray whale clade (Mammalia, Cetacea). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 24(2):453-463.
  • Dooley, A. C. Jr., 2003. A review of the eastern North American Squalodontidae (Mammalia: Cetacea). Jeffersoniana, No. 11, 26 p.
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