Michael J. Benton
is a British paleontologist, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's national academy of science and letters. It is a registered charity, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland...
, and professor of vertebrate palaeontology
Vertebrate paleontology is a large subfield to paleontology seeking to discover the behavior, reproduction and appearance of extinct animals with vertebrae or a notochord, through the study of their fossilized remains...
in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol
The University of Bristol is a public research university located in Bristol, United Kingdom. One of the so-called "red brick" universities, it received its Royal Charter in 1909, although its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol, had been in existence since 1876.The University is...
His published work has mostly concentrated on the evolution of Triassic
The Triassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about 250 to 200 Mya . As the first period of the Mesozoic Era, the Triassic follows the Permian and is followed by the Jurassic. Both the start and end of the Triassic are marked by major extinction events...
reptiles but he has also worked on extinction events and faunal changes in the fossil record. His work appears in New Scientist
He is the author of several palaeontology text books (e.g. Vertebrate Palaeontology
Vertebrate Palaeontology is a basic textbook on vertebrate paleontology by Michael J. Benton, published by Blackwell's. It has so far appeared in three editions, published in 1990, 1997, and 2005...
) and children's books. He has also advised on many media productions including BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs
Walking with Dinosaurs is a six-part documentary television miniseries that was produced by BBC, narrated by Kenneth Branagh, and first aired in the United Kingdom, in 1999. The series was subsequently aired in North America on the Discovery Channel in 2000, with Branagh's voice replaced with that...
and was a program consultant for Paleoworld
Paleoworld was a documentary television series that was produced for The Learning Channel, and has had a total of 50 episodes. Some consider it to be the largest and most comprehensive paleontology series ever made. The series began in late September 1994 and, after 4 seasons, ended in 1997...
on Discovery Science
Discovery science is a scientific methodology which emphasizes analysis of large volumes of experimental data with the goal of finding new patterns or correlations, leading to hypothesis formation and other scientific methodologies.Discovery-based methodologies are often viewed in contrast to...
His research interests include: Diversification of life, Quality of the fossil record, Shapes of phylogenies, Age-clade congruence, Mass extinctions, Triassic ecosystem evolution, Basal diapsid phylogeny, Basal archosaurs, and The origin of the dinosaurs.
Benton has also been contributing in some documentaries. One of these was BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...
s 2002 program The Day The Earth Nearly Died
The Day The Earth Nearly Died is a British documentary produced by BBC in 2002. The program focuses on the mystery of the Permian extinction, which scientists believe killed over 90% of all life on earth at the end of the Permian, supposedly some 250 million years ago...
, which feature scientists as the deal with the mysteries of the Permian extinction. In December 2010, Benton got a rhynchosaur
Rhynchosaurs were a group of Triassic diapsid reptiles related to the archosaurs.-Description:Rhynchosaurs were herbivores, and at times abundant , with stocky bodies and a powerful beak...
Bentonyx is an extinct genus of rhynchosaur from the middle Triassic epoch of Devon in England. Its fossil, a well preserved skull, BRSUG 27200, was discovered in Otter Sandstone Formation and was first assigned to Rhynchosaurus spenceri, that is known from 25 specimens...
in his honour.
- Sahney, S., Benton, M.J. and H.J. Falcon Lang 2010. Rainforest collapse triggered Pennsylvanian tetrapod diversification. Geology. 38: 1079-1082.
- Sahney, S., Benton, M.J. and Paul Ferry 2010. "Links between global taxonomic diversity, ecological diversity and the expansion of vertebrates on land." Biology Letters.
- Benton, J. 2009. "The Red Queen and the Court Jester: species diversity and the role of biotic and abiotic factors through time." Science 323, 728-732.
- Lloyd, G. T., Davis, K. E., Pisani, D., Tarver, J. E., Ruta, M., Sakamoto, M., Hone, D. W. E., Jennings, R., and *Benton, M. J. 2008. "Dinosaurs and the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution." Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B 275, 2483-2490.
- Sahney, S. and Benton, M.J., 2008. "Recovery from the most profound mass extinction of all time". Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B 275, 759-765.v
- Benton, M. J. and Emerson, B. C. 2007. "How did life become so diverse? The dynamics of diversification according to the fossil record and molecular phylogenetics". Palaeontology 50: 23-40.
- Benton, m.J. and Donoghue, P.C.J. 2007. "Palaeontological evidence to date the tree of life". Molecular Biology and Evolution 24, 26-53.
- The phylogeny and classification of the tetrapods (1998, ed. Volumes 1 and 2)
- Prehistoric Animals (1989)
- Vertebrate palaeontology (1990; other editions in 1997 and 2005)
- On the trail of the dinosaurs (1990)
- The reign of the reptiles (1991)
- The rise of the mammals (1991)
- The fossil record 2 (1993, ed.)
- Fossil reptiles of Great Britain (1995, with P. S. Spencer)
- The Viking atlas of evolution (1997, with R. Osborne)
- The Penguin historical atlas of the dinosaurs (1997)
- Basic Palaeontology
Basic Palaeontology is a basic textbook on the study of paleontology written by the palaeontologists Michael J. Benton and David A.T. Harper, and published by Prentice Hall in 1997....
(1997, with D. A. T. Harper)
- Walking with dinosaurs: the facts (2000)
- The age of dinosaurs in Russia and Mongolia (2000, ed., with D. M. Unwin, M. A. Shishkin and E. N. Kurochkin)
- Permian and Triassic red beds and the Penarth Group of Great Britain (2002, with E. Cook and P. J. Turner)
- Vertebrate palaeontology (2005, Third edition)
- When life nearly died: the greatest mass extinction of all time (2003)
- Mesozoic and Tertiary fossil mammals and birds of Great Britain (2005, with L. Cook, D. Schreve, A Currant, and J. J. Hooker)