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Mathew Wedel, PhD

Mathew Wedel, PhD

Associate Professor, Anatomy

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

Phone: 909-469-6842


Join year: 2008

  • Education

    2007 Ph.D., Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA
    Advisors: Kevin Padian and Bill Clemens. Title: Postcranial pneumaticity in dinosaurs and the origin of the avian lung

    2001 M.S., Zoology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
    Advisor: Richard L. Cifelli.Title: The evolution of vertebral pneumaticity in the Sauropoda

    1997 B.S., cum laude, Zoology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
    Advisor: Richard L. Cifelli. Title: A new sauropod from the Early Cretaceous of Oklahoma

  • Teaching Experience

    Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy, Western Univ. of Health Sciences, 2014-present

    • Gross Anatomy Lecture and Lab - ongoing
    • Podiatric Medical Principles and Practices - ongoing (intro anatomy lectures)

    Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy, Western Univ. of Health Sciences, 2008-2014

    • Gross Anatomy Lecture and Lab - 11 terms (5 summer, 6 fall)
    • Podiatric Medical Principles and Practices - 3 terms (intro anatomy lectures)
    • Research Capstone Course for MS program - 2 terms

    Instructor, School of Natural Science and Writing Program, UC Merced, 2007-2008

    • Introduction to Ecology 1 semester
    • Human Anatomy Laboratory 1 semester
    • Contemporary Biology 1 semester
    • Core 1, The World at Home 1 semester

    Graduate Student Instructor, Department of Integrative Biology,UC Berkeley,2002-2007

    • Biology and anatomy labs 10 semesters

    National Science Foundation Graduate Teaching Fellow, UC Berkeley, 2004-2005

    • Exploring California Biodiversity 2 semesters

    Instructor, Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, 2001

    • Introduction to Zoology 1 semester

    Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Zoology,University of Oklahoma,1998-2001

    • Zoology and anatomy labs 7 semesters
  • Courses
    • Intensive Summer Anatomy Course, lecture and lab (team taught)
    • Medical Gross Anatomy, lecture and lab (team taught)
    • Podiatric Medical Principles and Practices, intro anatomy lectures
  • Research Interest

    I am a vertebrate paleontologist, and my main areas of interest are sauropod dinosaurs and the evolution of pneumatic (air-filled) bones in dinosaurs and birds. I study the evolutionary origin of pneumatic bones in archosaurs, the respiratory systems of sauropods and other dinosaurs, and the evolution of large size and long necks in sauropods.

  • Research Grant
    • 2018, Canyonlands Natural History Association, New diverse Late Jurassic biota from Utah, $3880
    • 2006, UC Dept. of Integrative Biology,Pneumatic hiatuses in dinosaurs, $4730
    • 2005, UC Dept. of Integrative Biology, Micro CT of pneumatic bones in birds, $3760
    • Jurassic Foundation, Postcranial pneumaticity in sauropods, $1500
    • Sigma Xi GIAR, Pneumatization in birds: micro CT, $780
    • 2004, UC Dept. of Integrative Biology, Development of pneumaticity in birds, $2825
    • UCMP Samuel Welles Fund, Origin and evolution of pneumaticity, $1000
    • UC Museum of Paleontology, The canalis supramedullaris of sauropods, $299
    • 2003, UC Dept. of Integrative Biology, Development of pneumaticity in birds, $4700
    • UC Dept. of Integrative Biology, Evolution of pneumaticity in dinosaurs, $200
    • 2000, OU Graduate College, Evolution of pneumaticity in sauropods, $300
    • OU Graduate Student Senate, Evolution of pneumaticity in sauropods, $100
    • 1997, OU Honors Council, A new sauropod dinosaur from Oklahoma, $200
    • OU Honors Council, A new sauropod from the Antlers Fm., $200
  • Awards
    • 2018 - Science Guest of Honor, Norwescon 14, Seattle, WA
    • 2010 – Honorable Mention, Most-Cited Paper in 2010, Acta Palaeontologica Polonica
    • 2009 – Wedel (2009a) is one of the Top 20 Most Downloaded Papers in the Journal of Experimental Zoology
    • 2009 – Top Reviewer, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B
    • 2006 – Fourth International Award in Palaeontology Research, Fundación Conjunto Paleontológico de Teruel – Dinópolis, Spain
    • 2005 – George D. Louderback Award, UC Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley
    • 2004 – Teaching Effectiveness Award, University of California, Berkeley
    • 2004 – Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor, UC Berkeley Dept. of Integrative Biology
    • 2004 – First Place, University of Oklahoma Graduate College Student Poster Session
  • Community Organizations

    President, Pomona Valley Amateur Astronomers

  • Publications


    Davis, B.M., Haiar, B.K., and Wedel, M.J. (editors) 2022. Boots and burlap: papers in honor of Richard L. Cifelli. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 67(1), 282 pp.

    Wedel, V., Hermsen, K., and Wedel, M.J. 2022. Tooth cementum annulations method for determining age at death using modern deciduous human teeth: challenges and lessons learned. pp. 215-225 in Naji, S., Rendu, W., and Gourichon, L. (eds.), Dental Cementum in Anthropology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. doi:10.1017/9781108569507.014

    Hallet, M., and Wedel, M.J. 2016. The Sauropod Dinosaurs: Life in the Age of Giants. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 320+xv pp.


    Atterholt, J., and Wedel, M.J. 2022. A computed tomography-based survey of paramedullary diverticula in extant Aves. The Anatomical Record 306(1):29-50.

    Smith, D.H., Rodgers, J.M., Dollé, J.-P., and Wedel, M.J. 2022. Giraffes vs. blue whales vs. dinosaurs: contest reveals which one builds its nervous system fastest to evade predators. Scientific American.

    Taylor, M.P., and Wedel, M.J. 2022. What do we mean by the directions “cranial” and “caudal” on a vertebra? Journal of Paleontological Techniques 25: 1-24.

    Aureliano, T., Ghilardi, A.M., Müller, R.T., Kerber, L., Pretto, F.A., Fernandes, M.A., Ricardi-Branco, F., and Wedel, M.J. 2022. The absence of an invasive air sac system in the earliest dinosaurs suggests multiple origins of vertebral pneumaticity. Scientific Reports. 12:20844.

    Woodruff, D. Cary, Wolff, Ewan D.S., Wedel, Mathew J., Dennison, Sophie, and Witmer, Lawrence M. 2022. The first occurrence of an avian-style respiratory infection in a non-avian dinosaur. Scientific Reports 12, 1954.

    Aureliano, T., Ghilardi, A.M., Navarro, B.A., Fernandes, M.A., Ricardi-Branco, F., and Wedel, M.J. 2021. Exquisite air sacs histological traces in a hyperpneumatized nanoid sauropod dinosaur from South America. Scientific Reports 11: 24207. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-03689-8

    Wedel, M.J., Atterholt, J., Dooley, A.C., Jr., Farooq, S., Macalino, J., Nalley, T.K., Wisser, G., and Yasmer, J. 2021. Expanded neural canals in the caudal vertebrae of a specimen of Haplocanthosaurus. Academia Letters, Article 911, 10pp.

    Taylor, M.P., and Wedel, M.J. 2021. Why is vertebral pneumaticity in sauropod dinosaurs so variable? Qeios. doi:10.32388/1G6J3Q.5.

    Staples, B., Ennedy, E., Kim, T., Nguyen, S., Shore, A., Vu, T., Labovitz, J., and Wedel, M. 2019. Cutaneous branch of the obturator nerve extending to the medial ankle and foot: a report of two cadaveric cases. Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery.

    Richardson, B., Wissman, L., Singh, B., Matz, D., Siesel, K., Dykyj, D., Talbot, D., Griffin, N., and Wedel, M. 2018. Lower extremity anatomy learning objectives, pp. 34-41 in Curricular Guide for Podiatric Medical Education. American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine, Rockville, MD. 327 pp.

    Hone, D.W.E., Farke, A.A., and Wedel, M.J. 2016. Ontogeny and the fossil record: what, if anything, is an adult dinosaur? Biology Letters 2016 12 20150947

    Kraatz, B.P., Sherratt, E., Bumacod, N., and Wedel, M.J. 2015. Ecological correlates to cranial morphology in leporids (Mammalia, Lagomorpha). PeerJ, 3:e844.

    Foster, J.R., and Wedel, M.J. 2014. Haplocanthosarus (Saurischia: Saruopoda) from the lower Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic) near Snowmass, Colorado. Volumina Jurassica 12(2): 197-210. DOI: 10.5604/17313708 .1130144

    Farke, A.A., Maxwell, W.D., Cifelli, R.L., and Wedel, M.J. 2014. A ceratopsian dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Western North America, and the biogeography of Neoceratopsia. PLoS ONE 9(12): e112055. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112055

    Penera, K., Manji, K., Wedel, M., Shofler, D., and Labovitz, J. 2014. Ankle syndesmotic fixation using two screws: Risk of injury to the Perforating Branch of the Peroneal Artery. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery. 53(5):534-8. DOI: 10.1053/j.jfas.2014.04.006

    Wedel, M.J., and Taylor, M.P. 2013b. Caudal pneumaticity and pneumatic hiatuses in the sauropod dinosaurs Giraffatitan and Apatosaurus. PLoS ONE 8(10):e78213. 14 pages. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0078213

    Taylor, M.P., and Wedel, M.J. 2013b. The effect of intervertebral cartilage on neutral posture and range of motion in the necks of sauropod dinosaurs. PLoS ONE 8(10): e78214. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0078214

    Wedel, M.J. and Taylor, M.P. 2013a. Neural spine bifurcation in sauropod dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation: ontogenetic and phylogenetic considerations. PalArch's Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 10(1): 134.

    Talyor, M.P, and Wedel, M.J. 2013a. Why sauropods had long necks; and why giraffes have short necks. PeerJ 1:e36, 41pp.

    Wedel, M.J. 2012. A monument of inefficiency: the presumed course of the recurrent laryngeal nerve in sauropod dinosaurs. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 57(2): 251-256.

    For a complete list of publications


    Wedel, M.J., Kraatz, B.P., Taylor, M.P., and Vendetti, J. 2017. Growth series of one: case studies in time-transgressive morphology. 65th Symposium of Vertebrate Pelaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, Meeting Proceedings.

    Taylor, M.P., and Wedel, M.J. 2017. A unique Morrison-Formation sauropod specimen with biconcave dorsal vertebrae. 65th Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, Meeting Proceedings.

    Smith, D.K., Sanders, R.K., Wedel, M.J. and Wolfe, D.G. 2016. Basicranial and vertebral pneumaticity in therizinosaurs: implications for development of function. Meeting Program & Abstracts, Society of Verebrate Paleontology 76th Annual Meeing, p. 226.

    Wedel, M.J., Rouse, N., Hung, D., and Hunt, T. 2016. Physiological challenges of multi-meter neurons in large vertebrates. 64th Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, Meeting Proceedings, p. 30.

    TaylorM.P., and Wedel, M.J. 2016. How big did Barosaurs get? 64th Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, Meeting Proceedings, p. 30.

    Wedel, M.J., Tykoski, R., Fiorillo, A., and Maxwell, D. 2016. Pneumatic diverticula associated with the spinal cord in birds, sauropod dinosaurs, and other onrithodiran archosaurs. Western Association of Vertebrate paleontologists, 2016 Meeting Proceedings, p. 9.

    Taylor, M.P., Wedel, M.J., Naish D., and Engh, B. 2015. Were the necks of Apatosaurus adn Brontosaurus adapted for combat? 63rd Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, Meeting Proceedings, p. 71.

    Martin-Silverstone, E., Farke, A., Wedel, M.J., and Hone. D. 2015. New data on cortical thickness in rhamphorhynchines. Flugsauier 2015 proceedings (University of Portsmouth School of Earth and Enviornmental Sciences).


    Wedel, M.J. March 30, 2018. Flip-top heads, air filled bones, and teenage pregnancy: How largest dinosaurs got so big. Norwescon 41, Seattle, WA.

    Wedel, M.J. March 12, 2018. What air-filled bones tell us about dinosaurs and vice versa. Department of Biodeversity, Earth & Environmental Science, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.

    Wedel, M.J. May 6, 2016. Why elephants are so small. Prehistoric Museum, Utah State University Eastern, Price, UT.

    Wedel, M.J. March 16, 2016. Dinosaurs versus whales: what is the largest animal of all time, and how do we know? Sam Nobel Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman OK.

    Wedel, M.J. February 16, 2016. Photgraphic specimens adn composing illustrations. Cal Sate Fullerton, Fullerton CA.

    Wedel, M.J. February 12, 2015. What air-filled bones tell us about dinosaurs and vice versa. Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA.

    Wedel, M.J. August 18, 2015. How to measure a dinosaur. National Fossil Day, San Bernardino County Museum, Redlands, CA.

    Wedel, M.J. July 5, 2014. Flip-top heads, air filled bones, and teenage pregnancy: how the largest dinosaurs got so big. Webb Schools Summer Paleontology Program, Claremont, CA.


    December 27, 2017, Apatosaurus. I Know Dino Podcast

    May 20, 2017, Life in the Age of Giants. Fist Full of Podcasts

    October 17, 2011, Weird or What: Monsters. History Channel Canada

    August 19, 2011, Jurassic CSI: Megasaurus. National Geographic Channel

    December 13, 2009, Clash of the Dinosaurs: Generations. Discovery Channel

    September 24, 2009, Animal Armageddon: The Next Extinction. Animal Planet

    SELECTED PROFESSIONAL CONSULTING (employer, supervisor, duties)

    2016 - Johns Hopkins University Press, Vincent Burke, book proposal reivew

    2015-16 - Capstone Press, Anthony Wacholtz, fact checking and proofing art for basic science database

    2015 - Capstone Press, Anthony Wacholtz, fact checkin and proofing art for dinosaur database and book series

    2014 - Capstone Press, Shelly Lyons, research fact checking, for dinosaur database

    2013 - Mega Brands America, Inc., Theresa Wong, research,fact checking, and proofing art for Go Dig dinosaur card game

    2012-13 - Scholastic, Inc., Sam Nisson, research, fact checking, and proofing art for The Magic School Bus, Dinosaurs game

    2012 - Leapfrof Enterprises, Inc. Carolyn Jaynes, reserach, fact checking, and proofing art for Leapand the Lost Dinosaur


    Academic editor for PeerJ since March, 2014, with 25 papers handled to date (17 published).

    Over 90 peer reviews for Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, AMNH Novitates, Anatomical Record, Annals of the Carnegie Museum, Biological Reviews, Biology Letters, Bonner Zoologische Beiträge, BYU Geology Notes, Comptes Rendus Palevol, Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology (University of Michigan), Cretaceous Research, Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae, Geology of the Intermountain West, Historical Biology, Journal of Experimental Zoology, Journal of Morphology, Journal of Peleontological Techniques, Journal of Systematic Paleontology, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, III Latin-American Congress of Vertebrate Paleontology, Nature Scientific Reports, Naturwissenschaften, Neus Jahrbuch, Palaeontologica Electronica, Palaeonotology, PaleoBios, PeerJ, PLoS ONE, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, and Indiana University Press.