Biography

Two major  areas of interest viz. Vertebrate Palaeontology and Vertebrate Ecology. My paleontological research has entailed expeditions to the Lake Eyre Basin, to the caves of southeastern Australia and Papua New Guinea. This research encompasses exploration, geological mapping, collection, preparation and description of vertebrate fossils leading to reconstruction of ancient environments and faunas. I discovered the Victoria Cave fossil deposits at Naracoorte in 1969 and was instrumental in taking this site to World Heritage status in 1994. My research into the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat led to the establishment of the Brookfield Wombat Reserve, now Brookfield Conservation Park. I continue with supervision of higher degree students involved in wombat related research.

Teaching interests

Guest lectures in Vertebrate Palaeontology

Research interests

Vertebrate Palaeontology, particularly Australian Marsupials and megafauna extinctions
Wombat biology and arid/semi-arid zone grazing systems

RHD research supervision

Current

Associate supervisor : Southern hairy-nosed wombat ecology (1) ;

Publications

  • Wells, R.T., Tedford, R.H., Camens, A.B., von der Borch, C.C. and Magee, J. (2013). The Plio-Pleistocene sediments and fossil record of the Tirari Desert, eastern Lake Eyre Basin. In CAVEPS 2013 Program and Abstracts. Bedford Park, SA: Flinders University of South Australia. 14th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology & Systematics. Adelaide, SA. Sep 2013, pp. 86-87.
  • Wells, R.T., Murray, P.F. and Bourne, S.J. (2013). Tail of the Lion: description and functional analysis of the tail of Thylacoleo carnifex along with a reappraisal of posture and locomotion. In CAVEPS 2013 Program and Abstracts. Bedford Park, SA: Flinders University of South Australia. 14th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology & Systematics. Adelaide, SA. Sep 2013, pp. 86-86.
  • Wells, R.T., Williams, D.L.G., Camens, A.B., Bestland, E.A., Spooner, N., Arman, S.D., et al. (2013). The 'Mammaliferous Drift': alluvial fans, climate and megafauna of the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia. In CAVEPS 2013 Program and Abstracts. Bedford Park, SA: Flinders University of South Australia. 14th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology & Systematics. Adelaide, SA. Sep 2013, pp. 87-88.
  • Grun, R., Wells, R.T., Eggins, S., Brown, L. and Ayling, M. (2006). Advances in dating megafauna sites. In Alcheringa : proceedings of CAVEPS 2005 [abstracts] Sydney: Taylor and Francis. 10th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology & Systematics and Quaternary Extinctions Symposium. Mar 2005, pp. 444-444.
  • Reed, E.H., Wells, R.T., Bourne, S. and Sellar, A. (2006). Discovering the history of life on Earth in South Australia. In Alcheringa : CAVEPS 2005 abstracts. Sydney: Taylor and Francis. 10th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology & Systematics and Quaternary Extinctions Symposium. Mar 2005, pp. 464-464.
  • Sullivan, J., Wells, R.T., Reed, E.H., Forbes, M.S. and Bestland, E.A. (2006). A taphonomic investigation of the Black Creek Swamp megafaunal accumulation. In Alcheringa : CAVEPS 2005 abstracts. Sydnay: Taylor and Francis. 10th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology & Systematics and Quaternary Extinctions Symposium. Mar 2005, pp. 468-468.
  • Tedford, R.H. and Wells, R.T. (2006). Pliocene and Pleistocene marsupial evolution in Australia. In Alcheringa : CAVEPS 2005 Abstracts. Sydney: Taylor and Francis. 10th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology & Systematics and Quaternary Extinctions Symposium. Mar 2005, pp. 468-468.
  • Wells, R.T. and Prideaux, G.J. (2006). Dwarf specimens of Zygomaturus from Black Creek Swamp, Flinders Chase National Park. In Alcheringa : CAVEPS 2005 abstracts. Sydney: Taylor and Francis. 10th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology & Systematics and Quaternary Extinctions Symposium. Mar 2005, pp. 471-471.
  • Wells, R.T. and Reed, E.H. (2006). Naracoorte Caves World Heritage site: history and research overview. In Alcheringa : CAVEPS 2005 abstracts. Sydney: Taylor and Francis. 10th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology & Systematics and Quaternary Extinctions Symposium. Mar 2005, pp. 472-472.
  • Wells, R.T., Grun, R., Forbes, M.S., Sullivan, J., Bestland, E.A., Reed, E.H., et al. (2006). The Black Creek Swamp Megafauna Site, Kangaroo Island: pre or post blitzkreig? In Alcheringa : CAVEPS 2005 abstracts. Sydney: Taylor and Francis. 10th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology & Systematics and Quaternary Extinctions Symposium. Mar 2005, pp. 472-472.
  • Wells, R.T. (2007). Chris Johnson, 'Australia's Mammal Extinctions: A 50,000 year history.' (Book Review) Australian Mammalogy, 29(1) pp. 115-116.
  • Fitzgerald, E., Velez-Juarbe, J. and Wells, R. (2013). Miocene sea cow (Sirenia) from Papua New Guinea sheds light on Sirenia evolution in the Indo-Pacific. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 33(4) pp. 956-963.
    [10.1080/02724634.2013.753081]
  • Forbes, M.S., Kohn, M.J., Bestland, E.A. and Wells, R.T. (2010). Late Pleistocene environmental change interpreted from {delta}13C and {delta}18O of tooth enamel from the Black Creek Swamp Megafauna site, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 291 pp. 319-327.
    [10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.03.003] [10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.03.003] [Scopus]
  • Camens, A. and Wells, R.T. (2010). Palaeobiology of Euowenia grata (Marsupialia: Diprotodontinae) and its Presence in Northern South Australia. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 17(1) pp. 3-19.
    [10.1007/s10914-009-9121-2] [10.1007/s10914-009-9121-2] [Scopus]
  • Camens, A. and Wells, R.T. (2009). Diprotodontid footprints from the Pliocene of central Australia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29(3) pp. 863-869.
    [10.1671/039.029.0316] [10.1671/039.029.0316] [Scopus]
  • Wells, R.T., Murray, P. and Bourne, S.J. (2009). Pedal morphology of the Marsupial Lion Thylacoleo carnifex (Diprotodontia: Thylacoleonidae) from the Pleistocene of Australia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29(4) pp. 1335-1340.
    [10.1671/039.029.0424] [10.1671/039.029.0424] [Scopus]
  • Forbes, M.S., Krull, E., Bestland, E.A. and Wells, R.T. (2009). Chronology and organic chemistry of the Black Creek Swamp Megafauna site (Late Pleistocene), Kangaroo Island, Australia. Boreas, 38(4) pp. 705-717.
    [10.1111/j.1502-3885.2009.00093.x] [10.1111/j.1502-3885.2009.00093.x] [Scopus]
  • Gillespie, R., Fifield, K., Levchenko, V. and Wells, R.T. (2008). New 14C ages on cellulose from Diprotodon gut contents:explorations in oxidation chemistry and combustion. Radiocarbon, 50(1) pp. 75-81.
    [Scopus] [Web Link]
  • Grun, R., Wells, R.T., Eggins, S., Spooner, N., Aubert, M., Brown, L., et al. (2008). Electron spin resonance dating of South Australian megafauna sites. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 55(6/7) pp. 917-935.
    [10.1080/08120090802097419] [10.1080/08120090802097419] [Scopus]
  • Forbes, M.S., Bestland, E.A., Wells, R.T. and Krull, E.S. (2007). Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene Robertson Cave sedimentary deposit, Naracoorte, South Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 54(4) pp. 541-559.
    [10.1080/08120090601078388] [10.1080/08120090601078388] [Scopus]
  • Tedford, R.H., Wells, R.T. and Prideaux, G.J. (2006). Pliocene and earlier pleistocene marsupial evolution in southeastern Australia. Alcheringa, 30(1S) pp. 313-322.
    [10.1080/03115510609506870] [Scopus]
  • Pate, F.D., McDowell, M.C., Wells, R.T. and Smith, A. (2006). Additional AMS radiocarbon dates for Wet Cave and the timing of megafaunal extinctions in the Naracoorte region of South Australia. Alcheringa, 1S pp. 277-279.
    [10.1080/03115510608619585] [10.1080/03115510609506866] [Scopus]
  • Helgen, K., Wells, R.T., Kear, B.P., Gerdtz, W.R. and Flannery, T.F. (2006). Ecological and evolutionary significance of sizes of giant extinct kangaroos. Australian Journal of Zoology, 54(4) pp. 293-303.
    [10.1071/ZO05077] [10.1071/ZO05077] [Scopus]
  • Grun, R., Eggins, S., Wells, R.T., Rhodes, E.J., Bestland, E.A., Spooner, N.A., et al. (2006). A cautionary tale from down under: dating the Black Creek Swamp megafauna site on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Quaternary Geochronology, 1(2) pp. 142-150.
    [10.1016/j.quageo.2006.05.029] [10.1016/j.quageo.2006.05.029] [Scopus]
  • Fraser, R. and Wells, R.T. (2006). Palaeontological excavation and taphonomic investigation of the late Pleistocene fossil deposit in Grant Hill, Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. Alcheringa, 30(S1) pp. 147-161.
    [10.1080/03115510609506860] [Scopus]
  • Wells, R.T., Grun, R., Sullivan, J., Forbes, M.S., Dalgairns, S., Bestland, E.A., et al. (2006). Late Pleistocene megafauna site at Black Creek Swamp, Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Alcheringa, 30(S1) pp. 367-387.
    [10.1080/03115510608619592] [10.1080/03115510609506873] [Scopus]
  • Forbes, M.S., Bestland, E.A. and Wells, R.T. (2004). Preliminary 14C dates on bulk soil organic matter from the Black Creek Megafauna Fossil site, Rocky River, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Radiocarbon, 46(1) pp. 437-443.
    [Scopus]
  • Pate, F.D., McDowell, M.C., Wells, R.T. and Smith, A.M. (2002). Last recorded evidence for megafauna at Wet Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia 45,000 years ago. Australian Archaeology, 54 pp. 53-55.
    [Scopus]
  • Moriarty, K., McCulloch, M., Wells, R. and McDowell, M.C. (2000). Mid-Pleistocene cave fills, megafaunal remains and climate change at Naracoorte, South Australia: Towards a predictive model using U/Th dating of speleothems. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 159(1-2) pp. 113-143.
    [10.1016/S0031-0182(00)00036-5]
  • Fitzgerald, E., Velez-Juarbe, J. and Wells, R. (2013). Miocene sea cow (Sirenia) from Papua New Guinea sheds light on Sirenia evolution in the Indo-Pacific. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 33(4) pp. 956-963.
    [10.1080/02724634.2013.753081]
  • Camens, A. and Wells, R.T. (2010). Palaeobiology of Euowenia grata (Marsupialia: Diprotodontinae) and its Presence in Northern South Australia. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 17(1) pp. 3-19.
    [10.1007/s10914-009-9121-2] [10.1007/s10914-009-9121-2] [Scopus]
  • Forbes, M.S., Kohn, M.J., Bestland, E.A. and Wells, R.T. (2010). Late Pleistocene environmental change interpreted from {delta}13C and {delta}18O of tooth enamel from the Black Creek Swamp Megafauna site, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 291 pp. 319-327.
    [10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.03.003] [10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.03.003] [Scopus]
  • Camens, A. and Wells, R.T. (2009). Diprotodontid footprints from the Pliocene of central Australia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29(3) pp. 863-869.
    [10.1671/039.029.0316] [10.1671/039.029.0316] [Scopus]
  • Forbes, M.S., Krull, E., Bestland, E.A. and Wells, R.T. (2009). Chronology and organic chemistry of the Black Creek Swamp Megafauna site (Late Pleistocene), Kangaroo Island, Australia. Boreas, 38(4) pp. 705-717.
    [10.1111/j.1502-3885.2009.00093.x] [10.1111/j.1502-3885.2009.00093.x] [Scopus]
  • Wells, R.T., Murray, P. and Bourne, S.J. (2009). Pedal morphology of the Marsupial Lion Thylacoleo carnifex (Diprotodontia: Thylacoleonidae) from the Pleistocene of Australia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29(4) pp. 1335-1340.
    [10.1671/039.029.0424] [10.1671/039.029.0424] [Scopus]
  • Gillespie, R., Fifield, K., Levchenko, V. and Wells, R.T. (2008). New 14C ages on cellulose from Diprotodon gut contents:explorations in oxidation chemistry and combustion. Radiocarbon, 50(1) pp. 75-81.
    [Scopus] [Web Link]
  • Grun, R., Wells, R.T., Eggins, S., Spooner, N., Aubert, M., Brown, L., et al. (2008). Electron spin resonance dating of South Australian megafauna sites. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 55(6/7) pp. 917-935.
    [10.1080/08120090802097419] [10.1080/08120090802097419] [Scopus]
  • Forbes, M.S., Bestland, E.A., Wells, R.T. and Krull, E.S. (2007). Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene Robertson Cave sedimentary deposit, Naracoorte, South Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 54(4) pp. 541-559.
    [10.1080/08120090601078388] [10.1080/08120090601078388] [Scopus]
  • Pate, F.D., McDowell, M.C., Wells, R.T. and Smith, A. (2006). Additional AMS radiocarbon dates for Wet Cave and the timing of megafaunal extinctions in the Naracoorte region of South Australia. Alcheringa, 1S pp. 277-279.
    [10.1080/03115510608619585] [10.1080/03115510609506866] [Scopus]

Professional and community engagement

Member of the Wombat Research Working Group  for the South Australian Government Department of Water and Natural Resources.
Honorary Associate in Palaeontology at the South Australian Museum;
Member Society of Verterbrate Palaontology USA 
Member Royal Zoological Society of South Australia and a past Vice President (1995 - 98)
Expert examiner under The Moveable Cultural Heritage Act 1986

Expertise for media contact

Subject Titles

  • Animals
  • Ecology
  • Fossils
  • Mammals
  • Marsupials
  • Palaeontology
  • Tourism
  • Wildlife

Interests

  • Vertebrate Palaeontology particularly fossil marsupials
  • The World Heritage Naracoorte Caves
  • Ecotourism particularly geological and fossil heritage

Contact

Add to address book
Phone: -
Email:
Location: - (-)
Postal address: GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia
MACO login

inspiring achievement