- Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
- Completed a BA in anthropology at the University of Missouri, 1975
- Earned an MS in geology from the University of Utah
- Received his PhD in geology and paleontology from the University of Michigan, 1990
- Was a post-doctoral researcher at the Illinois State Museum in 1991–1992
- Has taught courses in ichthyology, geology, and land resources for the Au Sable Institute for Environmental studies, 1993-1998; 2008; 2010-2013.
- Taught for Wheaton College's field station in the Black Hills of South Dakota, 1994–1996