P. David Polly

P. David Polly

Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Chair, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences


  • Fellow, Michigan Society of Fellows, Geological Sciences, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, 1994-1996
  • Ph.D., Paleontology, University of California-Berkeley, 1993
  • B.A., University of Texas-Austin, 1987

Research interests

  • Mammalian paleontology
  • Quantitative evolution
  • Biotic responses to changing earth systems

Graduate students

  • Allison K. Bormet, Indiana University, Ph.D.
  • Anne E. Kort, Indiana University, Ph.D.
  • Ricardo Ely, Indiana University, Ph.D.
  • Charles Salcido, Indiana University, Ph.D.
  • Allison Nelson, Indiana University, M.S.
  • Sierra Lopezalles, Indiana University, Ph.D.
  • Henry Fulghum, Indiana University, M.S.

Honors + Awards

Fellow, The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 2022.

McCormick Science Grant with Anne E. Kort. 2022. For faculty/graduate student team whose research is judged most creative, visionary, and innovative. College of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University.

James Philip Holland Award for Exemplary Teaching and Service to Students. 2011. Indiana University

McCormick Science Grant (with A. Michelle Lawing). 2011. For faculty/graduate student team whose research is judged most creative, visionary, and innovative. College of Arts and Sciences, University of Indiana

Drapers' Prize for Excellence in Teaching. 2004. Queen Mary, University of London

Joseph T. Gregory Award. 2001. For outstanding service to the welfare of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology


2013-Present: Director, College Center for Biological Research Collections, College of Arts and Sciences and Office for the Vice President for Research, Indiana University–Bloomington

2013-Present Chair, Advisory Board, Glenn Black Laboratory for Archaeology. Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Indiana University

2006-Present Research Curator, IU Paleontological Collection, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

2020-Present: Advisory Board Member, Indiana Geological and Water Survey, Indiana University, Bloomington

2019: Witness, US House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee hearing on “Forgotten Voices: The Inadequate Review and Improper Alteration of Our National Monuments”, 13 March 2019.

2017-2018: Associate Director, Environmental Resilience Institute at Indiana University and Prepared for Environmental Change grand challenges initiative

2017-2018: Chair, Faculty Misconduct Review Committee, Bloomington Faculty Council, Indiana University

2016-2018:  President, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

2015-2017: Chair, Faculty Board of Review, Bloomington Faculty Council, Indiana University

2013-2019: Director, College Center for Biological Research Collections, College of Arts and Sciences and Office for the Vice President for Research, Indiana University, Bloomington

2002-2007: Member of Council, Palaeontological Association