- Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
After completing a BA in anthropology at the University of Missouri in 1975, Professor Stearley earned an MS in geology from the University of Utah. He then received his PhD in geology and paleontology from the University of Michigan in 1990.
After graduating, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Illinois State Museum from 1991–1992. He taught for Wheaton College's field station in the Black Hills of South Dakota from 1994 to 1996. Over the years, he has taught courses in ichthyology, geology, and land resources for the Au Sable Institute for Environmental studies. He directed the excavation of the Ada Bible Church Mastodon in Cascade, Michigan.
- History of geology, anthropology, and evolutionary thought
- Past and present research includes:
- Studies of rock-boring marine invertebrates in the intertidal zone of the Gulf of Calfornia in Sonora, Mexico;
- Studies of Neogene fossil fishes from western North America;
- Anatomy and systematics of salmonid fishes;
- Analysis of fish remains from archaeological sites in New Mexico and west Michigan;
- Assisting in developing a computerized database of Pleistocene mammalian fossil sites for North America