Set In Stone: Fossil Study forms a solid foundation for colleagues and mentors

Story by Karen Pojmann Photos by Nicholas Benner Published Jan. 1, 2017

As paleobiology graduate students, Jim Schiffbauer and John Huntley shared research projects, laughs and a tiny office at Virginia Tech. A decade later, they’re both MU assistant professors, and … not much has changed. They still collaborate. They still laugh a lot. And they’re still in close proximity, with adjacent (though larger) offices. One addition: star protégé Tara Selly, MS ’15, a doctoral candidate with a penchant for investigating the biology and ecology of the fossil record. Schiffbauer is Selly’s official adviser, and she calls Huntley her “step-adviser.” The three worked together on a project that informed Selly’s first paper and the professors’ first published collaboration: studying the predatory behaviors of trilobites — extinct marine arthropods — as recorded in Southeast Missouri fossils. “Ichnofossil record of selective predation by Cambrian trilobites” was published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.