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David A.T. Harper[1] is a British palaeontologist, specialising in fossil brachiopods and numerical methods in palaeontology. He is Professor of Palaeontology in Earth Sciences,[2] Principal of Van Mildert College,[3] and Deputy Head of Colleges (Research and Scholarly Activities) in Durham University. In December 2014 he began his term as President of the Palaeontological Association.[4]


Harper was previously Professor of Palaeontology and Head of Geology in the Natural History Museum of Denmark,[5] University of Copenhagen. He has published over 10 books and monographs, including a couple of influential textbooks, as well as over 250 scientific articles and, together with Øyvind Hammer, the widely used software package PAST. In recent years he has been addressing some of the major events in the history of life, for example the Cambrian Explosion, Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event and the end Ordovician mass extinctions. His research programmes have taken him to many parts of the world including Chile, China, Greenland, Russia and Tibet. His research has been recognized by foreign membership of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, an Einstein Professorship in the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a D.Sc. from Queen’s University Belfast.

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Paleontological Data Analysis, Hammer and Harper (2008) (ISBN 9781405172943)
  • Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record, Benton and Harper (2012) (ISBN 9781118685402)
  • The Making of Ireland: Landscapes in Geology, Williams and Harper (1999) (ISBN 9781898162063)
  • Fossils and Strata, Late Ordovician Brachiopods from West-Central Alaska: Systematics, Ecology and Palaeobiogeography, Rasmussen, Blodgett, and Harper (2012) (ISBN 9781118384176)
  • William King D. SC.(1809-1886) A Palaeontological Tribute, Harper (1988) (ISBN 9780907775256)
  • Basic Palaeontology (with Michael Benton), Prentice Hall (1997)


  1. ^ Department of Earth Sciences. "Prof D.A.T. Harper - Durham University". Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  2. ^ Department of Earth Sciences. "Department of Earth Sciences - Durham University". Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  3. ^ Van Mildert College (2013-03-27). "Van Mildert College - Durham University". Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  4. ^ Palaeontological Association. "Palaeontological Association Members of Council". Retrieved 2014-12-21.
  5. ^ "Geologisk Museum - forside – Københavns Universitet". Retrieved 2013-04-16.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Patrick O'Meara
Principal of Van Mildert College
Succeeded by