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Professor of Earth Sciences, University of New England

John Paterson is a Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale, New South Wales. He graduated with a BSc (Hons I; 2001) and PhD (2005) from Macquarie University in Sydney, and completed postdoctoral studies at the South Australian Museum (2005) and Macquarie University (2006) before his appointment as a Lecturer at UNE in 2007. John has served as Secretary of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists (2006–2010), and is currently a Voting Member of the International Subcommission on Cambrian Stratigraphy. He was also a recipient of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2014–2018), and was awarded the 2016 Anton Hales Medal by the Australian Academy of Science for distinguished research in the Earth Sciences.

Professor Paterson is one of Australia’s leading researchers on Cambrian (541 to 485 million-year-old) marine fossils, using them to answer major questions relating to evolution, biogeography and palaeoecology during the biggest animal radiation in the history of life, the Cambrian Explosion. He has also used these fossils in the relative dating and correlation of Cambrian rocks around the globe in order to refine the geologic timescale.


  • –present
    Professor in the School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England


  • 2005 
    Macquarie University, PhD

Research Areas

  • Palaeontology (Incl. Palynology) (040308)
  • Animal Systematics And Taxonomy (060301)
  • Palaeoecology (060206)