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Department of Paleobiology

  • John Pojeta, Jr.
  • Adjunct Scientist
  • Phone:   202-633-1347
  • Fax:   202-786-2832
  • E-mail Address:   pojetaj
  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 121
    Washington, DC 20013-7012
  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0121


Ph.D. University of Cincinnati, 1963
M.S. University of Cincinnati, 1962
B.S. Capital University, 1957

Research Interests

Study of fossil mollusks and what the fossil record shows about the origins and early evolution of the classes of mollusks. Studies mostly concerned with pelecypods (bivalves), chitons, and the extinct class Rostroconchia from Cambrian and Ordovician rocks. In addition to evolution and phylogeny, my studies deal with paleoecology and biostratigraphy.

Research Assistants, Current and Former Post-doctoral Fellows, and Students

Research Assistant:

  • Marija Balanc (30 years)


  • Bruce Runnegar, University of New England, Australia
  • Jiri Kriz, Czech Geological Survey, Prague
  • Margaret Bradshaw, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • Sara Quiroz-Barroso, National University of Mexico
  • Ilya Temkin, Dept. Invert. Zoology, NMNH


  • Greg Wahlman, University of Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Nicole Rogalla, University of Marburg, Germany
  • Renjie Zhang, Yichang Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources, China


  • (Selected Listing)
  • The Paleontological Society, 1958 to date
  • Paleontological Research Institution, 1960 to date
  • Palaeotological Association, 1965 to date
  • Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, 1975 to date
  • International Palaeontological Association, 1968 to date
  • Institute of Malacology, 1962 to date
  • Malacological Society of London, 1962 to date
  • American Malacological Society, 1988 to date
  • Conchologists of America, 1989 to date
  • Council of Systematic Malacologists, 1988 to date
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1958 to date
  • Geological Society of America, 1967 to date
  • American Geological Institute, 1964 to date


  • (Selected Listing)
  • The Paleontological Society – Secretary and President 1982-1991
  • Paleontological Research Institution – President 1980-1982
  • Geological Society of America -- Fellow 1972 to date; Chairman, Treatise Advisory Committee 1997-1998; 2001
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science – Fellow 1972 to date; Council Member 1972-1976
  • Pojeta Peak is an officially recognized geographic feature in the Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica
  • U.S. Geological Survey Exchange Scientist with the Australian Bureau of Mineral Resources 1974-1975
  • Visiting Scientist and Distinguished Lecturer, People’s Republic of China, September 1987
  • Chief, U. S. Geological Survey Branch of Paleontology and Stratigraphy 1989-1994
  • Research Associate, Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution 1969 to date
  • Scientist Emeritus, United States Geological Survey 1994 to date
  • I have nine patronymic names of genera or species from Cambrian and Ordovician rocks in Australia, U.S.A., New Zealand, and Argentina, 1976-2005

Other Committees

  • (Selected Listing)
  • Member of a panel convened by the New Mexico Bureau of Mines to try and establish a policy to deal with fossils during surface coal mining, 1981.
  • U.S. Geological Survey representative to a panel convened by the Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History to draft a request to the National Academy of Sciences asking for the Academy to convene a panel on how to deal with fossil collecting during surface coal mining, 1983.
  • Chairman, Search Committee to find an Assistant Director at the Paleontological Research Institution, 1976-1977.
  • Member, Search Committee to fil a vacancy in paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, 1981-1982.
  • Member, NAS/NRC Committee on Surface Distrubances and Paleontological Resources, 1983.
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences Committee on Guidelines for Paleontological Collecting, 1984-1987.
  • Member, Paleontological Society Committee on the reorganization of the editorial policies for the Journal of Paleontology, 1985.
  • Chairman of Committee on biostratigraphy of Early Cambrian mollusks, 1986.
  • Chairman, Paloentological Society Committees for the Schuchert and Medal Awards, 1991.
  • Secretary, for the Governor of Maryland’s Advisory Committee On Promoting Paleontology, 1992-1993.
  • Chairman, U.S. Geological Survey Geological Names Committee, 1990-1994.

[ TOP ]


(Selected listing)

Pojeta, 1966, North American Ambonychiidae (Pelecypoda).  Palaeontographica Americana, 42:131-241

Pojeta, 1971, Review of Ordovician Pelecypods.  U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 685, 46 p.

Pojeta, et al., 1972.  Rostroconchia:  A new class of bivalved mollusks,  Science 180:264-267.

Pojeta, et al., 1973.  Fordilla troyensis Barrande:  The oldest known pelecypod.  Science 180:866-868.

Runnegar and Pojeta.  1974.  Molluscan Phylogeny:  The Paleontological Viewpoint.  Science 186:311-317.

Pojeta.  1975.  Fordilla troyensis Barrande and early pelecypod phylogeny.  Bulletins of American Paleontology 67:363-384.

Pojeta and Runnegar.  1976.  The paleontology of rostroconch mollusks and the early history of the phylum Mollusca.

U.S. Geological  Survey Professional Paper 986. 88 p.

Pojeta, et al.  1977.  Cambrian and Ordovician rostroconch mollusks from northern Australia.  Australian Bureau of Mineral

Resources Bulletin 171, 54 p.

Pojeta, 1978.  The origin and early taxonomic diversification of pelecypods.  Royal Society of London Philosophical Transactions, B, 284:225-246.

Pojeta.  1980.  Molluscan phylogeny.  Invited paper.  Tulane Studies in Geology and Paleontology 16:55-80.

Pojeta.  1985.  Early evolutionary history of diasome mollusks.  University of Tennessee studies in geology 13:102-121.

Pojeta, et al., 1986.  Devonian rocks and Lower and Middle Devonian pelecypods from Guangxi, China and Michigan.  U.S.

Geological Survey, Professional Paper 1394, 108 p.

Pojeta, et al.  1987.  Phylum Mollusca in Fossil Invertebrates, Blackwell p. 270-435.

Pojeta and Sohl,  1987.  Ascaulocardium armatum  (Morton, 1833, New Genus (Late Cretaceous), the ultimate variation on the bivalve paradigm.

Journal of Paleontology, Memoir 24, 77 p.

Pojeta.  1988.  The origin and Paleozoic diversification of solemyoid pelecypods.  New Mexico Bureau of Mines, Memoir 44, p. 201-271.

Webers, Pojeta, and Yochelson.  1992.  Cambrian Mollusks from the Minaret Formation, Ellsworth Mts.  Geological Society of America

Memoir 170, p. 181-284.

Edwards and Pojeta.  1994.  Fossils, Rocks, and Time.  U.S. Geological Survey General Interest Publication 352-390, 25 p.

Pojeta.  2000.  Fossils, G-Men, Money, and Museums.  Science 289:1695-1696.

Pojeta.  2000.  Cambrian Pelecypods (Mollusca).  American Malacological Bulletin 15:157-166.

Pojeta and Springer.  2001.  Evolution and the Fossil Record.  Special Publication, American Geological Institute, 27 p.

Pojeta, et al.  2003.  Echinochiton dufoei:  A new spiny Ordovician chiton.  Journal of Paleontology 77:646-654.

Hoare and Pojeta.  2006.  Ordovician Polyplacophora (Mollusca) from North America, Journal of paleontology Memoir 64, 27p.

Pojeta, John, Jr., and Stott, C.A., 2007, Nucularcidae:  A new family of Palaeotaxodont Ordovician pelecypods from North America and Australia.

Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 44:1479-1501.

Pojeta, John, Jr., Vendrasco, M.J., and Darrough, Guy, 2010, Upper Cambrian Chitons (Mollusca, Polyplacophora from Missouri, U.S.A.  Bulletins of American Paleontology, No. 379, 82 p.

Temkin, Ilya, and Pojeta, John, Jr., 2010, Cassiavellia galtarse nov. gen. et sp.:  A new Permian bivalve and its significance for pterioidean systematic.  Journal of Paleontology 84:1152-1176.