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Department ofVertebrate Zoology

Division of Mammals

Tarsius bancanus
bar James Mead
    James G. Mead
    Curator Emeritus

  • Phone: (202)633-1256
  • Fax: (202)633-0182
  • E-mail: meadj[at]

  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 108
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th and Constitution Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0108


Ph.D. (Evolutionary Biology): University of Chicago, 1972
M.A. (Geology): University of Texas at Austin, 1968
B.S. (Biology and Geology): Yale University, 1965

Research Interests

Current research interests: completion of the manuscript "The therian skull - a lexicon with emphasis on the odontocetes," formerly titled "Standardizing nomenclature in odontocete cranial osteology." This has been a long term project with Ewan Fordyce and amounts to an illustrated dictionary of osteological landmarks in the dolphin skull. Those skulls are radically different from terrestrial mammals and the terms that have been used in descriptions of them vary tremendously. We found it difficult to decide, from the published literature, if a structure was present or not because of the variability in terms used to describe it. When this work is finished it will be of great value to cetacean systematists.

Recent Publications

van Waerebeek, Koen, van Helden, Anton, W├╝rsig, Bernd, Brownell, Robert L., Jr., Cipriano, Frank, Perrin, William F. and Mead, James G. 2018. Alan Noel Baker 1940-2017. Marine Mammal Science, 34(2): 563-570. doi:10.1111/mms.12493

Ellis, Richard and Mead, James G. 2017. Beaked whales: a complete guide to their biology and conservation Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. (; ) 194 pages.

West, Kristi L., Walker, William A., Baird, Robin W., Mead, James G. and Collins, Paul W. 2017. Diet of Cuvier's beaked whales Ziphius cavirostris from the North Pacific and a comparison with their diet world-wide. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 574: 227-242. doi:10.3354/meps12214

Woodman, Neal and Mead, James G. 2017. Rafinesque's Sicilian whale, Balena gastrytis. Archives of Natural History, 44(2): 229-240. doi:10.3366/anh.2017.0446

Yamato, Maya, Khidas, Kamal, Pyenson, Nicholas D., Fordyce, R. Ewan and Mead, James G. 2016. Extensively remodeled, fractured cetacean tympanic bullae show that whales can survive traumatic injury to the ears. Journal of anatomy, 228(1): 125-136. doi:10.1111/joa.12385

Dalebout, Merel L., Baker, C. Scott, Steel, Debbie, Thompson, Kirsten, Robertson, Kelly M., Chivers, Susan J., Perrin, William F., Goonatilake, Manori, Anderson, R. Charles, Mead, James G., Potter, Charles W., Thompson, Lisa, Jupiter, Danielle and Yamada, Tadasu K. 2014. Resurrection of Mesoplodon hotaula Deraniyagala 1963: A new species of beaked whale in the tropical Indo-Pacific. Marine Mammal Science, 30(3): 1081-1108. doi:10.1111/mms.12113

Nweeia, Martin T., Eichmiller, Frederick C., Hauschka, Peter V., Donahue, Gretchen A., Orr, Jack R., Ferguson, Steven H., Watt, Cortney A., Mead, James G., Potter, Charles W., Dietz, Rune, Giuseppetti, Anthony A., Black, Sandie R., Trachtenberg, Alexander J. and Kuo, Winston P. 2014. Sensory ability in the narwhal tooth organ system. Anatomical Record : Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology, 297(4): 599-617. doi:10.1002/ar.22886

Complete List of Mead's Publications and Downloadable PDFs

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