Associate Professor Trevor Worthy

Vice Chancellors Postdoctoral Fellow

College of Science and Engineering

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

I am a leading vertebrate palaeontologist, specialising in the taxonomic circumscription and phylogenetic analyses of fossil birds of the Australasia - Pacific region with occasional forays into amphibia, reptilia and mammalia. A New Zealander, I have about 33 years research experience in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific, beginning work in the Museum of New Zealand and then was a private investigator for many years funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, NZ. In late 2005, I moved to Australia to Adelaide University and obtained a PhD. I then had postdoctoral positions in Sydney (2009-2011) and Adelaide (2012) before moving to Flinders University in 2013. To date I have published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers, 5 books and numerous other technical publications, and been involved as a consultant in several television documentaries.

  • DSc 2011, Contributions to understanding the avifauna of the southwest Pacific. Faculty of Science and Engineering, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, graduated 2 May 2011.
  • PhD 2008, Tertiary fossil waterfowl (Aves:Anseriformes) of Australia and New Zealand. Environmental Biology, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The Universityof Adelaide, South Australia, 22 Dec. 2008.
  • MSc 1986 - Graduated 20 October, fossil frogs, Victoria University,Wellington.
  • MSc 1981 - Graduated 9 April, limnology, The University of Waikato, Hamilton.
  • BSc 1978 – Graduated 14 April, Science, The University of Waikato, Hamilton , NZ
Honours, awards and grants
  • 2012, Elected President of the Society Avian Paleontology and Evolution.
  • 2010, Meritorius Service Award from Ornithological Society of New Zealand
  • 2010 & 2011, University of New South Wales Goldstar awards, $40,000 pa for the Projects: The drowning of Zealandia: the role of dispersal in shaping New Zealand's fauna; PS19070, PS22963.
  • 2008, Elected Vice President of the Society Avian Paleontology and Evolution.
  • 2005, Elected as a Corresponding Fellow of theAmerican Ornithologists' Union for sustained research effort.
  • 2003, Awarded the D.L. Serventy Medal with R.N.Holdaway, by Birds Australia (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union) for sustained research effort.
  • 2002-2007, Member of the Notornis Editorial Board.
  • 2001 - continuing, Member of the Checklist Committee,Ornithological Society of New Zealand.
  • 1989 – present, Honorary Research Associate in:Vertebrate Fossil Department, Museum of New Zealand.


  • Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Flinders University. 2016-2019.
  • ARC DP180101913 Extricating an extinction history for megafauna mired in Australia’s largest necropolis at Lake Callabonna. Assoc. Prof. Trevor Worthy, Dr L. Arnold, Prof. Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, $416,584 (2018-2020).
  • ARC LIEF Grant LE170100177, L. Arnold; N. Spooner; G. Prideaux; R. Hill; A. Collins; J. Austin; J. Tibby; T. Worthy; P. Hesp; R. Popelka-Filcoff; M. Hutchinson; A regional optical dating facility in Australia; $290,000 (2017).
  • ARC DECRA DE130101133, Evolution, breeding biology, and extinction of giant fowl in Australia and the Southwest Pacific, $375,000 (2013-2015).
  • ARC Discovery Project DP120100486 (T Worthy, S Hand, S.W. Salisbury, R.P. Scofield, A.J.D. Tennyson), Determining the relative roles of dispersal and vicariance in the assembly of the New Zealand fauna $369,000 (2012-2014).
  • ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship on Linkage project LP0989969 (S Hand, M Archer, S Hocknull, T Worthy, J Woodhead, D Cendon, J Zhao, I Graham, J Scanlon, G Price, A Chivas, Environmental change in Cenozoic northern Australia: $900,000 (2009-2011).
Supervisory interests
Geological and fossil heritage
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Fossil Birds (3)
Associate supervisor: Fossil vertebrates (4)
Further information

My Academia page is at:

Google Scholar Page and Researchgate Links via buttons top right



I am part of the Flinders Palaeontology Group, 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 Anthropocene.