Professor Michael Archer
Michael Archer, BA(mcl), PhD, AM, FAA, FRSN, FRZSNSW, FACE,
FWAAS is Professor of
PalaeoBiology, University of New South Wales.
Almost four decades of distinguished research, teaching and public promotion of science and conservation by Mike have been publicly recognized in the Australia Day honors list. Mike, who is Dean of the UNSW Faculty of Science, has been appointed as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM).
In the Australian honors system appointments to the Order of Australia confer recognition for outstanding achievement and service. His citation reads: “For service to science as a paleontologist, to the promotion of sustainable management of animal and plant life, to scientific education and research, and through mentoring and administrative roles.”
Mike is perhaps best known for leading research into the extraordinary Riversleigh fossil deposits in Queensland, which led to the site being listed on World Heritage Register as an outstanding example of “major stages of the earth’s evolutionary history and significant ongoing ecological and biological evolution”.
So far, Riversleigh has yielded more than 40,000 specimens from over 200 sites, representing some 300 species of animals of all kinds. Scores of scientists around the world are involved in ongoing studies into the Riversleigh and the related Murgon fossil fields.
Mike said he was pleased and honored to be recognized but added: “The honor is really shared by all of my colleagues at UNSW and elsewhere around the world, but in particular Dr Suzanne Hand, Henk Godthelp, and Phil Creaser.”
He coauthored Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea: One Hundred Million Years of Evolution, Australia’s Lost World: Prehistoric Animals of Riversleigh, A New Marsupial from the Early Eocene Tingamarra Local Fauna of Murgon, Southeastern Queensland: A Prototypical Australian Marsupial?, Miocene mammal reveals a Mesozoic ghost lineage on insular New Zealand, southwest Pacific, First Mesozoic mammal from Australia an early Cretaceous monotreme, and Earliest known Australian Tertiary mammal fauna. Read the full list of his publications!
Since 1970, Mike has authored and coauthored more than 300 publications, including four in the prestigious journal Nature and authored more than 14 books and four reports for the Federal Government. He has named and studied (sometimes with coauthors) more than 120 new species, genera, families, and orders of both living and extinct mammals discovered as a consequence of his research.
His career includes stints at the Western Australian, Queensland, and Australian museums. He was director of the Australian Museum from 1999 to 2004. He joined UNSW in 1978, where he has taught continuously, mainly in biology and geology, and was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Science in 2004.
Mike graduated from Princeton University in geology and biology in 1967 and, after coming to Australia as a Fulbright scholar, was awarded a PhD in zoology in 1976 by the University of Western Australia.
He has supervised 35 doctoral and 28 honors projects and won a Eureka Prize for his active and entertaining promotion of science and conservation in schools, the media, and in public forums.