Professor Gavin Prideaux


College of Science and Engineering

place Biological Sciences (128a)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

I study links between patterns in Australian mammal evolution, ecology and extinction, and climate- and human-driven environmental changes. My students and I spend weeks in the field every year digging up old bones, often from caves, and exploring the contents of museum drawers. We work with experts in many different fields, including archaeologists, geologists and molecular biologists.

My own career started after I scraped through year 12 with the barest pass and began a BSc at Flinders in 1987. I didn't really know what I wanted to do, but I knew I liked science. After failing all first-year subjects except Biology, I followed the path of least resistance into second and third year, where I was introduced to evolution, palaeontology and the Australian biota. I studied kangaroo evolution for a PhD, then completed postdocs (junior research internships) at the University of California, Naracoorte Caves and Western Australian Museum, before returning in 2007 to reanimate palaeontology at Flinders following the retirement of Prof Rod Wells.

Today, Flinders Palaeontology occupies a suite of purpose-built, centrally-located labs and offices opened in 2014. We have five academic staff, eight research and technical staff, and 18 PhD and Honours students. Our dynamic, diverse, highly-interactive group leads research into deep-time evolutionary patterns and processes, and the past and potential future effects of environmental changes on biotas. We regularly make ground-breaking discoveries that attract international attention. We work very closely with other lab groups, including those at Flinders led by Vera Weisbecker and Mike Lee, and numerous groups at other universities.

PhD Flinders University 1999
BSc (Hons) Flinders University 1992
Honours, awards and grants
  1. Flinders University Researcher of the Year (2013);
  2. Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship (2013);
  3. Flinders University Vice-Chancellor's Award for an Early Career Researcher (2010);
  4. ARC Research Fellowship (2007);
  5. Best Student Paper, Conference on Australian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology and Systematics (1997);
  6. Inaugural University of California Museum of Paleontology International Student Award (1996).

I have been successful in attracting research grants totalling $5M since 2007, and have been project leader on an ARC Future Fellowship grant, five ARC Discovery Project grants and one ARC LIEF grant.

In 2014 I led the successful bid for Flinders Palaeo to be the focus of an Australian National Data Service Major Open Data Collections Project.

I have been awarded two Flinders Executive Dean of Science & Engineering Grants for the development of school / community outreach resources for the Bone Box (2010, 2012).

I have also received a National Geographic Research Grant (2011) and one Hermon Slade Foundation Grant (2011).

Key responsibilities

Joint-leader, Flinders Palaeontology
Coordinator, Bachelor of Science (Palaeontology)

Teaching interests

Biotic evolution, extinction, ecological and environmental changes through time.

Topic coordinator
BIOL2706 Vertebrate Anatomy and Evolution
Topic lecturer
BIOL1112 Biology and Society
BIOL3703 Vertebrate Palaeontology
BIOL1101 Evolution of Biological Diversity
Supervisory interests
Mammal evolution
Vertebrate palaeontology
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Vertebrate Palaeontology (7)
Associate supervisor: Vertebrate Morphology (1)
Principal supervisor: Vertebrate Palaeontology (6)
Associate supervisor: Mammal Evolutionary Ecology (1), Palaeoclimatology (1), Vertebrate Palaeontology (2)
Expert for media contact
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Animals
  • Ecology
  • Palaeontology
Further information


I am part of Flinders Palaeontology, one of the best places in Australia to study the deep history of life. This consists of the labs of the following academic staff and research fellows (and their research groups) addressing questions across all vertebrates - from fish to mammals, and the Cambrian to the Holocene.

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