Adam Pritchard

Dr. Adam Pritchard, Assistant Curator of Paleontology

Dr. Adam Pritchard, Assistant Curator of Paleontology

On a family trip when I was three years old, I received a plastic toy of a duckbilled dinosaur in a fast food kid’s meal. Since that time, I have been fascinated by the amazing variety of anatomies that existed in reptiles in the prehistoric past. I especially love placing those fossil species in the context of evolutionary trees, which can show us how anatomies changed over time and the diversity of different species waxed and waned. The fossil record is the greatest tool we have to understand the true diversity of organisms throughout Earth’s history. I am grateful for the opportunity to help tell the stories of Virginia’s fossil record as the Assistant Curator of Paleontology.

- Dr. Adam Pritchard on what inspired him to pursue a career in science


Dr. Adam Pritchard
Assistant Curator of Paleontology

Professional Titles

  • Assistant Curator of Paleontology, Virginia Museum of Natural History


  • Ph.D. Anatomical Sciences, Stony Brook University, 2015
  • B.A. Biology, McDaniel College, 2009

Professional Experience

  • Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History,
  • NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University, 2015–2017
  • Research Assistant, Stony Brook University, 2009–2014
    Teaching Assistant, Stony Brook University, 2010

Research Interests

  • Comparative anatomy and phylogeny of Permo-Triassic Diapsida, with a focus on small-bodied
  • Evolution of early Mesozoic vertebrate faunas in North America
  • Comparative anatomy and phylogeny of Crocodylomorpha
  • CT imaging and its use for reconstructing three-dimensional morphology in fossil and modern


  • Pritchard, A.C., H.-D. Sues, D. Scott, and R. R. Reisz. in revision. Osteology, relationships, and
    functional morphology of Weigeltisaurus jaekeli (Diapsida, Weigeltisauridae) based on a
    complete skeleton from the Upper Permian Kupferschiefer of Germany. PeerJ.
  • Jenkins, X. A., A. C. Pritchard, A. D. Marsh, B. T. Kligman, C. A. Sidor, and K. E. Reed. in press.
    Using manual ungual morphology to predict substrate use in the Drepanosauromorpha and the
    description of a new species. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
  • Formoso, K. K., S. J. Nesbitt, A. C. Pritchard, M. R. Stocker, and W. G. Parker. 2019. A long-
    necked tanystropheid from the Middle Triassic Moenkopi Formation (Anisian) provides insights
    into the ecology and biogeography of tanystropheids. Paleontologia Electronica 22.3.73:1–15.
  • Pritchard, A.C., and H.-D. Sues. 2019. Postcrania of Teraterpeton hrynewichorum (Reptilia,
    Archosauromorpha) and the mosaic evolution of the saurian postcranial skeleton. Journal of
    Systematic Palaeontology DOI:10.1080/14772019.2018.1551249.
  • Pritchard, A. C., J. A. Gauthier, M. Hanson, and B.-A. S. Bhullar. 2018. A tiny Triassic saurian
    from Connecticut and the early evolution of the diapsid feeding apparatus. Nature
    Communications 9 DOI:10.1038/s41467-018-03508-1.
  • Pritchard, A.C., and S. J. Nesbitt. 2017. A bird-like skull in a Triassic diapsid reptile increases
    heterogeneity of the morphological and phylogenetic radiation of Diapsida. Royal Society Open
    Science 4:170499. DOI:10.1098/rsos.170499.
  • Fabbri, M., N.M. Koch, A. C. Pritchard, M. Hanson, E. Hoffman, G.S. Bever, A.M. Balanoff, Z.S.
    Morris, D.J. Field, J. Camacho, T.B. Rowe, M.A. Norell, R.M. Smith, A. Abzhanov, and B.-A.
  • Bhullar. 2017. The skull roof tracks the regions of the brain evolutionarily and ontogenetically in
    the deep history of Archosauria. Nature Ecology & Evolution DOI:10.1038/s41559-017-0288-2.
  • Turner, A. H., A.C. Pritchard, and N.J. Matzke. 2017. Empirical and Bayesian approaches to
    fossil-only divergence times: A study across three reptile clades. PLoS One
  • Pritchard, A.C., A. H. Turner, R. B. Irmis, S. J. Nesbitt, and N. D. Smith. 2016. Extreme
    modification of the tetrapod forelimb in a Triassic reptile. Current Biology 26:2779–2786.
  • Bhullar, B.-A., M. Hanson, M. Fabbri, A. C. Pritchard, G. S. Bever, and E. Hoffman. 2016. How
    to make a bird skull: major transitions in the evolution of the avian cranium, paedomorphosis,
    kinesis, and the beak as a surrogate hand. Integrative and Comparative Biology
  • Nesbitt, S. J., J. J. Flynn, A. C. Pritchard, J. M. Parrish, L. Ranivoharimanana, A. R. Wyss.
    2015. Postcranial osteology of Azendohsaurus madagaskarensis (Triassic Isalo Group of
    Madagascar) and its systematic position among archosauromorphs. Bulletin of the American
    Museum of Natural History 398:1–126.
  • Turner, A. H. and A. C. Pritchard. 2015. Observations on the morphology of Isisfordia duncani
    and its phylogenetic placement in Neosuchia. PeerJ 3:e759.
  • Pritchard, A. C., A. H. Turner, S. J. Nesbitt, R. B. Irmis, and N. D. Smith. 2015. Late Triassic
    tanystropheid (Reptilia: Archosauromorpha) remains from northern New Mexico (Petrified
    Forest Member, Chinle Formation): insights into their distribution, morphology, and
    paleoecology. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 35:e911186.
  • Pritchard, A. C., J. A. McCartney, D. W. Krause, and N. J. Kley. 2014. New snakes from the
    Upper Cretaceous Maevarano Formation, Mahajanga Basin, Madagascar. Journal of Vertebrate
    Paleontology 34:1080–1093.
  • Pritchard, A. C., A. H. Turner, E. R. Allen, and M. A. Norell. 2013. Osteology of a North
    American goniopholidid (Eutretauranosuchus delfsi) and palate evolution in Neosuchia.
    American Museum Novitates 3783:1–56.
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