Dr. Gregory M. Erickson —FSU Biological Science Faculty Member -->

Dr. Gregory M. Erickson

Office: 4011 King Life Sciences
Office: (850) 645-4991
Lab: (850) 645-0841
Fax: (850) 645-8447
Mail code: 4295
E-mail: gerickson@bio.fsu.edu

Current Research Projects

Professor of Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleobiology
Curator, Florida State University vertebrate collection.
Ph.D., Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 1997.
Postdoctoral research, Department of Biomechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 1998-1999.
Postdoctoral research, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University, 1999-2000.
Research Associate: American Museum of Natural History, New York (2004-Present); The Field Museum, Chicago (2004-Present).
Graduate Faculty Status

Images for Hoff Productions

Crocodile Bite Force Press Materials

Hadrosaurid Data

Tyrannosaur Press Materials [Science Magazine]
Current Research Projects
Current research on the evolution of dinosaurian and avian growth rates funded by the National Science Foundation
Involvement with the National Geographic Channel's "Hunter and Hunted"

ZOO4343 - Herpetology Lecture 19 (userid and password required)
ZOO4343 - Herpetology Lecture 20 (userid and password required)
ZOO4343 - Herpetology Lecture 21 (userid and password required)

Dr. Gregory Erickson is currently recruiting new graduate students for Fall 2014.

Research and Professional Interests:

My primary area of interest is evolutionary morphology, with the major focus on the form, function, development, and evolution of the vertebrate musculo-skeletal system. I employ phylogenetic principles and methods from several traditional fields of study (including anatomy, physiology, biomechanical engineering, evolutionary biology, and vertebrate paleontology) to address unique evolutionary questions that are not surmountable within any one discipline. In my current research I am studying:

  1. Means to assess longevity and growth rates in extinct and living reptiles (e.g. dinosaurs, crocodilians) using skeletal growth markers and the use of these data for inferring heterochronic patterns. These data are further used to reconstruct aspects of ancient population biology and ecology.
  2. Crocodilian feeding biomechanics through bite-force experimentation. These tests serve as a springboard for modeling feeding in theropod dinosaurs and fossil crocodilians.

Selected Publications:

Erickson, G. M. 1995. Split carinae on tyrannosaurid teeth and implications of their development. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 15:268-274.

Erickson, G. M. and K. H. Olson 1996. Bite marks attributable to Tyrannosaurus rex: preliminary description and implications. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 16:175-178.

Erickson, G. M. 1996. Toothlessness in American alligators. Copeia, 1996:739-743.

Erickson, G. M. 1996. Daily deposition of incremental lines in Alligator dentine and the assessment of tooth replacement rates using incremental line counts. Journal of Morphology, 226:189-194.

Erickson, G. M., Van Kirk, S. D., Su, J., Levenston, M. E., Caler, W. E. and Carter, D. R. 1996. Bite-force estimation for Tyrannosaurus rex from tooth-marked bones. Nature, 382:706-708.

Erickson, G. M. 1996. Incremental lines of von Ebner in dinosaurs and the assessment of tooth replacement rates using growth line counts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 93:14623-14627.

Chin, K., Tokaryk, T. T., Erickson, G. M., and Calk, L. C. 1998. King-sized feces: a probable tyrannosaur coprolite from Saskatchewan. Nature, 393:680-682.

Erickson, G. M. and Brochu, C. A. 1999. How the terror crocodile grew so big. Nature, 398:205-206.

Sarin, V. K., Erickson, G. M., Giori, N. J., Bergman, A. G. and Carter, D. R. 1999 Coincident development of sesamoid bones and clues to their evolution. Anatomical Record (New Anatomist). 257(5): 174-180. (Cover article)

Erickson, G. M. and Tumanova, T. A. 2000. Growth curve and life history attributes of Psittacosaurus mongoliensis (Ceratopsia: Psittacosauridae) inferred from long bone histology. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 130:551-566.

Erickson, G. M. 2001. The bite of Allosaurus (News and Views). Nature, 409: 987-988.

Erickson, G. M. Curry-Rogers, K., and Yerby, S. 2001. Dinosaur growth patterns and rapid avian growth rates. Nature, 412: 429-433.

Erickson, G. M., Catanese, J. III, and Keaveny, T. 2002. Evolution of the biomechanical material properties of the femur. Anatomical Record: 268: 115-124.

Erickson, G. M, Lappin, A. K., and Vliet, K. A. 2003. The Ontogeny of bite-force performance in American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). Journal of Zoology, London: 260: 317-327.

Erickson, G. M. 2003. Using external vertebral growth rings to assess longevity in the Bengal monitor (Varanus bengalensis). Copeia: 2003: 872-878.

Erickson, G. M., Ricqles, A. de, Buffrenil, V. de., Molnar, R. E., and Bayless, M. A. 2003. Vermiform bones and the evolution of gigantism in Megalania—How a reptilian fox became a lion. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: 23: 966-970.

Erickson, G. M, Lappin, A. K., Parker, T., and Vliet, K. A. 2004. Comparison of bite-force performance between long-term captive and wild captured American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). Journal of Zoology, London. 262: 21-28.

Erickson, G. M., Makovicky, P. J., Currie, P. J., Norell, M. A., Yerby, S. A., and Brochu, C. A. 2004. Gigantism and comparative life-history parameters of tyrannosaurid dinosaurs. Nature: 430: 772-775 (Cover article).

Clarke, J. A., Tambussi, C. P., Noriega, J. I., Erickson, G. M., and Ketcham, R. A. 2005. Definitive fossil evidence for the extant avian radiation in the Cretaceous. Nature: 433: 305-308.

Curry-Rogers, K. and Erickson, G. M. 2005. Sauropod Histology: Microscopic Views on the Lives of Giants. Sauropod growth patterns. pp. 303-326, In: K. A. Curry Rogers and Wilson, J. (eds.) The Sauropods: Evolution and Paleobiology. Academic Press.

Erickson, G. M., Lappin. A. K., and Larson, P. 2005. Androgenous rex: The utility of chevrons for determining the sex of crocodilians and non-avian dinosaurs. Zoology: 108: 277-286.

Erickson, G. M. 2005. Assessing dinosaur growth patterns: A microscopic revolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution: 20: 677-684.

Xu, X., Clark, J. M., Forster, C. A., Norell, M. A., Erickson, G. M., Eberth, D., Jia, C. and Qi, Z. (2006). A primitive tyrannosauroid dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of China with an exaggerated cranial crest. Nature: 439: 715-718.

Nesbitt, S. J., Turner, A. H., Norell, M. A., Erickson, G. M. (2006) Prey choice and cannibalistic behaviour in the theropod Coelophysis. Biology Letters (The Royal Society, London): 2: 611-614.

Erickson, G. M., Currie, P. J., Inouye, B. D. and Winn, A. A. (2006). Tyrannosaur life tables: The first look at non-avian dinosaur population biology. Science: 313: 213-217.

Clarke, J. A., Tambussi, C. P., Noriega, J. I., Erickson, G. M., and Ketcham, R. A. (2006) Corrigendum: Definitive fossil evidence for the extant avian radiation in the Cretaceous. Nature: 444:780

Erickson, G. M., Curry Rogers, K., Varricchio, D. J., Norell, M. A., Xu, X. (2007) Growth patterns in brooding dinosaurs reveals the timing of sexual maturity in non-avian dinosaurs and genesis of the avian condition. Biology Letters (Royal Society) 3:558-561 (Cover article).

Turner, A. H., Pol, D., Clarke, J. A., Erickson, G. M., and Norell, M. A. (2007). A basal dromaeosaurid and size evolution preceding avian flight. Science: 317: 1378-1381.

Varricchio, D. V., Moore, J. R., Erickson, G. M., Norell, M. A., Jackson, F. D. and Borkowski, J. L. (2008) Avian paternal care had dinosaur origin. Science: 322: 1826-1828.

Xu, X., Zhao, Q., Norell, M. A., Sullivan, C., Hone, D., Erickson, G. M., Wang, X., Han, F. and Guo, Y. (2009) A new feathered maniraptoran dinosaur fossil that fills a morphological gap in avian origin. Chinese Science Bulletin: 54: 430-435.

Erickson, G. M., Rauhut, O. and Norell, M. A., Zhonghe, Z., Turner, A. H., Inouye, B. D. Hu, D. and Norell, M. A. (2009) Was dinosaurian physiology inherited by birds? Reconciling slow growth in Archaeopteryx. PLoS One 4(10)e7390. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007390.

Xu, X., Clark, J. M. Jinyou, M., Choiniere, J., Forster, C. A., Erickson, G. M., Hone, D.W.E., Sullivan, C. Eberth, D. A., Nesbitt, S., Qi, Z., Hernandez, R., Cheng-kai, J. Feng-lu, H. and Yu, G. (2009) A Jurassic ceratosaur from China helps clarify avian digital homologies. Nature: 459: 940-944.

Bell, A.K., Chiappe, L.M., Erickson, G.M., Suzuki, S., Watabe, M., Barsbold, R. and Tsogtbaatar, K. (2010). Description and ecologic analysis of Hollanda luceria, a Late Cretaceous bird from the Gobi Desert (Mongolia). Cretaceous Research, 31(1): 16-26.

Erickson, G. M., Makovicky, P. J., Inouye, B. D., Zhou C.-F., and Gao, K. (2009). Life table for Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis: The first glimpse into ornithischian dinosaur population biology. Anatomical Record. 292:1514-1521.

Brusatte, S. L., Carr, T. D., Erickson, G. M., Bever, G. S., and Norell, M. A. (2009) A long-snouted, multi-horned tyrannosaurid from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 41:17261-17266.

Butler, R. J., Galton, P. M. Porro, L. B. Chiappe, L. M., Henderson, D. M., and Erickson, G. M. (2010) Lower limits of ornithischian dinosaur body size inferred from a new Upper Jurassic heterodontosaurid from North America. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: 277: 375-381.

Makovicky, P., Li, D., Gao, K. Lewin, M., Erickson, G. M., and Norell, M. A. (2010) A giant ornithomimid from the Early Cretaceous of China. Proceeding of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 277:191-198.

Pfaller, J. B., Herrera, N. D., Gignac, P. M., and Erickson, G. M. (2010) Ontogenetic scaling of cranial morphology and bite-force generation in the loggerhead musk turtle. Journal of Zoology: 280: 280-289.

Gignac, P., Makovicky, P., and Erickson, G. M. and Walsh, R. P. (2010) A description of Deinonychus antirrhopus bite marks and estimates of bite force using tooth indentation simulations. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: 30:169-177.

Erickson, G. M., Currie, P. J., Inouye, B. D. and Winn, A. A. (2010). A revised Life table and survivorship curve for Albertosaurus sarcophagus based on the Dry Island mass death assemblage. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences: 47:1269-1275.

Longrich, N., Horner, J. R., Currie, P. J. and Erickson, G. M. (2010) Cannibalism in Tyrannosaurus rex. PLoS One: 5: e13419. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013419

Brusatte, S. L, Norell, M. A., Carr, T. D., Erickson, G. M., Hutchinson, J. R., Bever, G. S., Balanoff, A. M., Xu, X., Makovicky, P. J., and Choiniere, J. N. (in press). Tyrannosaur paleobiology: new research on ancient exemplar organisms. Science: 329: 1481-1485.

Pfaller, J. B., Gignac, P. M., and Erickson, G. M. (accepted) Bite-force generation and the ecological implications for musculoskeletal scaling in the durophagous turtle Sternotherus minor. Journal of Experimental Biology: tba.

Erickson, G. M. and Druckenmiller, P. S. (in review) Longevity and growth rates for a North Slope dinosaur showing a complete developmental record. Historical Biology.

Henderson, M. D., Currie, P. J., Parrish, J. M., Carr, T. D., Erickson, G. M. Scherer, R. P., Peterson, J. E. and Williams, S. A. (in review). Anatomy and systematics of a juvenile tyrannosaurid skeleton from the Hell Creek Formation (Lancian) of Southeastern Montana. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Erickson, G. M., Gignac, P. G. Steppan, S., Lappin, K., Vliet, K., Inouye, B. D., Webb, G., and Brueggen, J. (in review) Bite forces and tooth pressures for extant crocodilian species: Insights into the feeding ecology and evolution of the most successful predatory reptiles. Science.

Erickson, G. M., Hamilton, M., Bourne, G., Norell, M. A., and Sawyer, W. G. (in review) Complex tissue structure in hadrosaurid teeth. Nature.


Erickson, G. M. 1997. Von Ebner incremental growth lines. pp. 4-6, In: Currie, P. J. and Padian, K. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. Academic Press, San Diego.

Erickson, G. M. 1997. Age determination of dinosaurs. pp. 781-782, In: Currie, P. J. and Padian, K. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. Academic Press, San Diego.

Erickson, G. M. 1997. Tooth replacement patterns. pp. 739-740, In: Currie, P. J. and Padian, K. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. Academic Press, San Diego.

Erickson, G. M. 1999. Breathing life into T-rex. Scientific American, September: 32-39. (Cover article).

Erickson, G. M. 1999. The Dechronization of Sam Magruder by George Gaylord Simpson, a commentary. Scientific American, September: 52-53.

Erickson, G. M. 1999. Breathing life into Tyrannosaurus rex. pp. 267-275, In: Paul, G. S. (ed.) Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs , St Martin’s Press, New York.

Erickson, G. M. 2002. Ask the experts: When T. rex fell, how did it get up, given its tiny arms? Scientific American 287: 95 (also Scientific American Online--posted Feb. 4, 2002).

Erickson, G. M. 2002. Ask the experts: What are the odds of a dead dinosaur becoming fossilized? Scientific American Online—posted Sept. 16, 2002.

Lappin, A. K., Erickson, G. M., and K.A. Vliet. 2002. Bite-force performance in crocodilians: a feasibility study on the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis. Pages 158-164 in Proceedings of the 16th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group, IUCN - The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Erickson, G. M. 2004. Breathing life into Tyrannosaurus rex (update of 1999 article). Scientific American (Special Issue, March).

Erickson, G. M. 2005. Dinosaur Growth Patterns. McGraw-Hill 2005 Yearbook of Science and Technology. McGraw-Hill, NY.

Erickson, G. M. (2007). Bad to the bone --Tyrannosaurus rex bites again. In: Holtz, T. R. Jr. (ed.) Dinosaurs, Random House Publishing, NY.

Erickson, G. M. (2009) Paleontologists in academia. In: Stein, W. W. The Top 256 Rules of Paleontology. Dragon’s Claw Press, Belle Fourche. Pp. 229.

Erickson, G. M. (2009) The population biology of Tyrannosaurus rex. In: Hasegawa, Y. (ed.) Dinosaur Expo 2009—The Miracle of Deserts. Nikkei National Geographic Inc., Tokyo. Pp. 152-153.

Erickson G. M. (2009) Dinosaurs: The Model System for Evolution. In: Travis, J. and Ruse, M. (eds.): Evolution, The First Four Billion Years, Harvard University Press. Pp. 517-522.

Erickson, G. M. (2010) Review of: Introduction to the Paleobiology and the Fossil Record, Benton, M. J. and Harper, A. T. The Quarterly Review of Biology: 89-90.

Erickson, G. M. and Gignac, P. M. (2010) Bite forces for Toyotamaphymeia inferred from the biomechanics of living crocodilians. In: Kobayashi, Y. (Ed.) A Giant Japanese Crocodile Machikanewan, University of Osaka Press. Pp. 78-79.

Rauhut, O. W. M. and Erickson, G. M. (2010) Archaeopteryx - der 'Urmeter' der Vogelevolution (Archaeopteryx - the 'yardstick' of bird evolution). Jahresbericht 2009 und Mitteilungen der Freunde der Bayerischen Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und historische Geologie e.V. Pp. 1-12

Erickson, G. M. (in press) Robin Reid an influential figure in the development of modern osteohistological analyses for the study of dinosaurian biology. In: Farlow, J. O. and Brett-Surman, M. K. (Eds.) The Complete Dinosaur, 2nd Edition. Indiana University Press, Bloomington. tba.


Erickson, G. M. 2002-2009. Paleobiology of Dinosaurs (Lecture manual). Hayden McNeil Press. Plymouth, MI. 120 pp.


Graduate Students:

Kay, David
Kuhn-Hendricks, Stephen

 : External sites will open in a new browser window.