Richard J. Butler

Richard J. Butler is a vertebrate palaeontologist at the University of Birmingham, where he holds the title of professor of palaeobiology.[1] His research focuses on ornithischian dinosaur evolution, dinosaur origins, and fossil tetrapod macroevolution.[1]


Butler's undergraduate degree is a BSc in geology from the University of Bristol (2002). His Ph.D., in 2007, is from the University of Cambridge.[1]

He then worked at the London Natural History Museum as, first a postdoctoral research assistant (2006–2008), and then a NERC researcher co-investigator (2008–2009). From 2009 through 2011, he held an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship at the GeoBio-Center, in Munich, Germany, followed for 2011–2013 as junior research group leader there.[1]

He then came to the University of Birmingham, first as a Birmingham Fellow (2013–2015), then a Senior Birmingham Fellow and Academic Keeper of its Lapworth Museum of Geology (2015–2017). In 2017 he was appointed to a personal chair at Birmingham as professor of paleobiology.[1]

Professional workEdit

According to his web page at Birmingham,[1] his interests are:

  • "Systematics, taxonomy, and anatomy of fossil reptiles, particularly dinosaurs and closely related groups
  • Terrestrial recovery from the Permo-Triassic mass extinction event
  • Phanerozoic and Mesozoic diversification patterns among vertebrates, and fossil record quality
  • Late Palaeozoic–Mesozoic vertebrate biogeography
  • Body size evolution and its drivers in deep time
  • Early evolution of the avian respiratory system, and lung ventilation among fossil archosaurs"

His most cited papers, according to Google Scholar[2] are:

  • Butler RJ, Upchurch P, Norman DB. The phylogeny of the ornithischian dinosaurs. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 2008 Jan 1;6(1):1-40.[1], cited 237 times
  • Brusatte SL, Nesbitt SJ, Irmis RB, Butler RJ, Benton MJ, Norell MA. The origin and early radiation of dinosaurs. Earth-Science Reviews. 2010 Jul 1;101(1-2):68-100, [2] cited 204 times
  • Benson RB, Butler RJ, Lindgren J, Smith AS. Mesozoic marine tetrapod diversity: mass extinctions and temporal heterogeneity in geological megabiases affecting vertebrates. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2009 Nov 18;277(1683):829-34.[3] cited 158 times
  • Barrett PM, Butler RJ, Edwards NP, Milner AR. Pterosaur distribution in time and space: an atlas. Zitteliana:An Internal Journal of Paleontology and Geology. (University of Zurich) 2008:61-107. [4] cited 126 times


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Professor Richard Butler – School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences – University of Birmingham". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  2. ^ "Richard J Butler". Google Scholar. Retrieved November 6, 2019.