Research Expertise and Interest


Research Description

Charles Marshall is a paleontologist /deep-time evolutionary biologist broadly interested in how life has evolved on Earth and in the processes that have shaped it. His primary sources of data are from the fossil and geological records, as well the living biota and their genomes. His research has a strong epistemological component, often involving the development of new quantitative tools and ways of integrating disparate data. Current projects center on a thermodynamic framework for understanding the drivers of biodiversity and ecological change on geologic timescales, as well as the origin of life. His students are working on a range of projects, from documenting exceptionally preserved fossils and elucidating ecosystem structure as the first forests emerged some 390 million years ago, to using ecological niche modelling to understand the Great American Biotic Interchange, the selective migration of large numbers of species between South and North America when the Isthmus of Panama formed ~2.5 million years ago.

In the News

How many T. rexes were there? Billions.

How many Tyrannosaurus rexes roamed North America during the Cretaceous period? That’s a question Charles Marshall pestered his paleontologist colleagues with for years until he finally teamed up with his students to find an answer.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
April 16, 2021
Kenneth Chang
Researchers have calculated that approximately 20,000 Tyrannosaurus Rex adults lived at any one time in North America. Charles R. Marshall, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley who led the research, said the work started with him wondering, when he held a T. rex fossil, how rare was that? "Were there are a million, a billion, a trillion T. rexes?" he said. "Is this one in a million, one in a billion, one in a trillion? How on earth could we know that number? We all know fossils are rare, but how rare are they? And so it really started with that question." For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Stories on this topic have appeared in dozens of sources, including the Associated Press, CNN, The Guardian, USA Today, The Mercury News, LiveScience, JumpRadio, Taipei Times, Forbes, Voice of America, and The New York Post.
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