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About the Department

Heritage Resources

About Palaeontology

The Yukon Palaeontologist

Grant Zazula, Ph.D., Yukon Palaeontologist

Grant Zazula started in the position of Yukon Palaeontologist in December, 2006. Grant is currently involved in several collaborative research projects with the aim of uncovering new information on Ice Age animals, plants and ecosystems throughout Yukon Territory.

 Research background and interests:

  • Pleistocene palaeoenvironments in Yukon;
  • biogeography and chronology of late Pleistocene fauna and flora;
  • fossil arctic ground squirrels in Beringia;
  • Quaternary palaeoecology and palaeobotany;
  • Pleistocene climates, glacial history and geomorphology;
  • Early human occupation of Beringia and the New World;
  • Pleistocene extinctions.

Recent scientific publications

Willerslev, E. Davison, J., Moora, M., Zobel, M., Coissac, E., Edwards, M.E., Lorenzen, E.D., Vestergard, M., Gussarova, G., Haile, J., Craine, J., Gielly, L., Boessenkool, S., Epp, L.S., Pearman, P.B., Cheddadi, R., Murray, D., Brathen, K.A., Yoccoz, N., Binney, H., Cruaud, C., Wincker, P., Goslar, T., Alsos, I.G., Bellemain, E., Brysting, A.K., Elven, R., Sønstebø, J.H., Murton, J., Sher, A., Rasmussen, M., Rønn, R., Mourier, T., Cooper, A., Austin, J., Mőller, P., Froese, D., Zazula, G., Pompanon, F., Rioux, D., Niderkorn V., Tikhonov, A., Savvinov, G., Roberts R.G., MacPhee, R.D.E., Gilbert, M.T.P., Kjaer, K.H., Orlando, L., Brochmann, C., Taberlet, P. (2014). Fifty thousand years of Arctic vegetation and megafaunal diet. Nature 506, 47-51.

Nalawade-Chavan, S., Zazula, G., Brock, F., Southon, J., MacPhee, R., Drukenmiller, P., (2014). New single amino acid hydroxyproline radiocarbon dates for two problematic American Mastodon fossils from Alaska. Quaternary Geochronology 20, 23-28.

Meiri, M., Lister, A.M., Collins, M.J., Tuross, N., Goebel, T., Blockley, S., Zazula, G.D., van Doorn, N., Guthrie, R.D., Boeskorov, G.G., Baryshnikov, G.F., Sher, A., Barnes, I. (2014). Faunal record identifies Bering Isthmus conditions as constrains to end-Pleistocene migration to the New World. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 2014 281, 20132167.

Campbell, J.A., Schröder-Adams, C.J., Haggart, J.W., Druckenmiller, P.S., Ryan, M.J., Zazula, G.D. (2013). First records of a plesiosaurian (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) and an ichthyosaur from Yukon, Canada. Canadian Field-Naturalist 127(3): 234-239.

Orlando, L., Ginolhac, A., Zhang, G., Froese, D., Albrechtsen, A., Stiller, M., Schubert, M., Cappellini, E., Petersen, B., Moltke, I., Johnson, P.L.F., Fumagalli, M., Vilstrup, J.T., Raghavan, M., Korneliussen, T., Malaspinas, A-S., Vogt, J., Szklarczyk, D., Kelstrup, C.D., Vinther, J., Dolocan, A., Stenderup, J., Velazquez, A.M.V., Cahill, J., Rasmussen, M., Wang, X., Min, J., Zazula, G.D., Seguin-Orlando, A., Mortensen, C., Magnussen, K., Thompson, J.F., Weinstock, J., Gregersen, K., Røed, K.H., Eisenmann, V., Rubin, C.J., Miller, D.C., Antczak, D.F., Bertelsen, M.F., Brunak, S., Al-Rasheid K.A.S., Ryder, O., Andersson, L., Mundy, J., Krogh, A., Gilbert, M.T.P., Kjær, K., Sicheritz-Ponten, T., Jensen, L.J., Olsen, J.V., Hofreiter, M., Nielsen, R., Shapiro, B., Wang, J., Willerslev, E. (2013). Recalibrating Equus evolution using the genome sequence of an early Middle Pleistocene horse. Nature 499, 74-78.

Lacelle, D., Lauriol, B., Zazula, G., Ghaleb, B., Utting, N., Clark, I.D., (2013). Timing of advance and basal conditions of the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the last glacial maximum in the Richardson Mountains, NWT. Quaternary Research 80, 274-283.

Porter, T.M., Golding, G.B., King, C., Froese, D., Zazula, G., Poinar, H.N., (2013). Amplicon pyrosequencing late Pleistocene permafrost: the removal of putative contaminant sequences and small-scale reproducibility. Molecular Ecology Resources 13(5), 789-810.

Vavrek, M.J., Evans, D.C., Braman, D.R., Campione N.E., Zazula, G.D. (2012). A Paleogene flora from the upper Bonnet Plume Formation of northeast Yukon Territory, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 49(3), 547-558.

Evans, D.C., Vavrek, M.J., Braman, D.R., Campione, N.E., Dececchi, T.A., Zazula, G.D. (2012). Vertebrate fossils (Dinosauria) from the Bonnet Plume Formation, Yukon Territory, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 49(2), 396-411.

Orlando, L., Ginolhac, A., Raghavan, M., Vilstrup, Rasmussen, M., Magnussen, K., Steinmann, K.E., Kapranov, P., Thompson, J.F., Zazula, G., Froese, D., Moltke, I., Shapiro, B., Hofreiter, M., Al-Rasheid, K.A.S., Gilbert, M.T.P., Willerslev, E., (2011). True single-molecule DNA sequencing of a Pleistocene horse bone. Genome Research 21, 1705-1719.

Lorenzen, E.D., Nogués-Bravo, D., Orlando, L., Weinstock, J., Binlanden, J., Marske, K.A., Ugan, A., Borregaard, M.K., Gilbert, M.T.P., Nielsen, R., Ho, S.Y.W., Goebel, T., Graf, K.E., Byers, D., Stenderup, J.T., Rasmussen, M., Campos, P.F., Leonard, J.A., Koepfli, K-P., Froese, D., Zazula, G., Stafford, T.W., Jr., Aaris-Sørensen, K., Batra, P., Haywood, A.M., Singarayer, J.S., Valdes, P.J., Boeskorov, G., Burns, J.A., Davydov, S.P., Haile, J., Jenkins, D.L., Kosintsev, P., Kuznetsova, T., Lai, X., Martin, L.S., McDonald, H.G., Mol, D., Meldgaard, M., Munch, K., Stephan, E., Mikhail, S., Sommer, R.S., Sipko, T., Scott, E., Suchard, M.A., Tikhonov, A., Willerslev, R., Wayne, R.K., Cooper, A., Hofreiter, M., Sher, A., Shapiro, B., Rahbek, C., Willerslev, E. (2011). Species-specific responses of Late Quaternary megafauna to climate and humans. Nature 479, 359-364.

D’Costa, V.M., Kind, C.E., Kalan, L., Morar, M., Sung, W.W.L., Schwartz, C., Froese, D., Zazula, G., Calmels, F., Debruyne, R., Golding, G.B., Poinar, H.N., Wright, G.D. (2011). Antibiotic resistance is ancient. Nature 477, 457-461.

Blinnikov, M. S., Gaglioti, B.V., Walker, D.A., Wooler, M.J., Zazula, G.D. (2011). Pleistocene graminoid-dominated ecosystems in the Arctic. Quaternary Science Reviews 30, 2906-2929.

Gaglioti, B.V., Barnes, B.M., Zazula, G.D., Beaudoin, A.B., Wooler, M.J. (2011). Late Pleistocnee paleoecology of arctic ground squirrel (Urocitellus parryii) caches and nests from Interior Alaska’s mammoth steppe ecosystem, USA. Quaternary Research 76(3):373-382.

Wooler, M.J., Zazula, G.D., Blinnikov, M., Gaglioti, B.V., Bigelow, N.H., Sanborn, P., Kuzmina, S., La Farge, C. (2011). The detailed palaeoecology of a mid-Wisconsinan interstadial (ca. 32000 14C a BP) vegetation surface from interior Alaska. Journal of Quaternary Science 26(7), 746-756.

Zazula, G.D., Turner, D.G., Ward, B.C., Bond J. (2011). Last interglacial western camel (Camelops hesternus) from eastern Beringia. Quaternary Science Reviews 30, 2344-2360.

Zazula, G.D., Froese, D.G., Elias, E.A., Kuzmina, S., Mathewes, R.W. (2011). Early Wisconsinan (MIS 4) arctic ground squirrel middens and a squirrel-eye-view of the mammoth steppe. Quaternary Science Reviews 20, 2220-2237.

Metcalfe, J.Z., Longstaffe, F.J., Zazula, G.D. (2010). Nursing, weaning, and tooth development in Pleistocene woolly mammoths from Old Crow, Yukon, Canada. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 298, 257-270.

Reyes, A.V., Zazula, G.D., Kuzina, S., Ager, T.A., Froese, D.G. (2010). Identification of last interglacial deposits in eastern Beringia: a cautionary note from the Palisades, interior Alaska. Journal of Quaternary Science 26(3), 345-352.

Lauriol, B., Lacelle, D., St-Jean, M., Clark, I.D., Zazula, G.D. (2010). Late Quaternary paleoenvironments and growth of intrusive ice in eastern Beringia (Eagle River valley, northern Yukon, Canada). Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. 47, 941-955.

Campos, P.F., Willerslev, E., Sher, A., Axelsson, E., Tikhonov, A., Aaris-Sørensen, K, Greenwood, A., Kahlke, R-D., Kosintev, P., Krakhmalnaya, T., Kuznetsova, T., Lemey, P., MacPhee, R., Norris, C.A., Shepherd, K., Suchard, M.A., Zazula, G.D., Shapiro, B., Gilbert, M.T.P. (2010). Ancient DNA analyses exclude humans as the driving force behind late Pleistocene musk ox (Ovibos moschatus) population dynamics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(12), 5675-5680.

Kennedy, K.E., Froese, D.G., Zazula, G.D., Lauriol, B. (2010). Last Glacial Maximum age for the northwest Laurentide maximum from the Eagle River spillway and braid delta complex, northern Yukon. Quaternary Science Reviews 29, 1288-1300.

Reyes, A.V., Jensen, B.J.L., Zazula, G.D., Ager, T.A., Kuzmina, S., La Farge, C., Froese, D.G. (2010). A late-Middle Pleistocene (Marine Isotope Stage 6) vegetated surface buried by Old Crow tephra at the Palisades, interior Alaska. Quaternary Science Reviews 29, 801-811.

Szpak, P., Gröcke, D.R., Debruyne, R., MacPhee, R.D, Guthrie, R.D., Froese, D., Zazula, G.D., Patterson, W.P., Poinar, H.N. (2010). Regional Differences in Bone Collagen δ13C and δ15N of Pleistocene Mammoths: Implications for Paleoecology of the Mammoth Steppe. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 286, 88-96.

Lacelle, D., St-Jean, M., Lauriol, B., Clark, I.D., Lewkowicz, A., Froese, D.G., Kuehn, S.C., Zazula, G. (2009). Burial and preservation of a 30,000 year old perennial snowbank in Red Creek valley, Ogilvie Mountains, central Yukon, Canada. Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 3401-3413.

Zazula, G.D., Mackay, G., Andrews, T.D., Shapiro, B., Letts, B., Brock, F. (2009). A Late Pleistocene steppe bison (Bison priscus) partial carcass from Tsiigehtchic, Northwest Territories, Canada. Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 2734-2742.

Zazula, G.D., Hare, P.G., Storer, J.E. (2009). New radiocarbon dated vertebrate fossils from Herschel Island: implications for the glacial chronology and palaeoenvironments of the Beaufort Sea Coastlands. Arctic 62(3): 273-280.

Froese, D.G., Zazula, G.D. Westgate, J.T., Preece, S.J., Sanborn, P.T., Reyes, A.V., Pearce, N.J.G. (2009). The Klondike goldfields and Pleistocene environments of Beringia. Geological Society of America (GSA) Today 19(8): 4-10.

Zazula, G.D., Harington, C.R., Telka, A., Brock, F. (2009). Radiocarbon dates reveal that Lupinus arcticus plants were grown from modern not Pleistocene seeds. New Phytologist 182: 788-792.

Debruyne, R., Chu, G., King, C.E., Bos, K., Kuch, M., Schwartz, C., Szpak, P., Gröcke, D.R., Matheus, P., Zazula, G., Guthrie, D., Froese, D., Buigues, B., de Marliave, C., Flemming, C., Poinar, D., Fisher, D., Southon, J., Tikhonov, A.N., MacPhee, R.D.E., Poinar, H.N. (2008). Out of America: ancient DNA evidence for a New World origin of Late Quaternary Woolly Mammoths. Current Biology 18, 1-6.

Contact Palaeontology Program

Grant Zazula
Yukon Palaeontologist 
Heritage Resources Unit
Cultural Services Branch
Department of Tourism & Culture
Government of Yukon
Phone: 1-867-667-8089
Toll free (In Yukon): 1-800-661-0408,  ext. 8089
Fax: 1-867-667-5377

Office Location
133A, Industrial Road
Whitehorse, Yukon

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 2703 (L-2A)
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 2C6

Klondike Palaeontology Field Office
Elizabeth Hall
Assistant Palaeontologist
Cell: 1-867-332-8981
Field Office in Dawson City (September to May)
Whitehorse office: 1-867-332-8880 (September to May)