Associate Professor Steven Salisbury

Associate Professor

School of the Environment
Faculty of Science
+61 7 336 58548


Dr Steve Salisbury is an Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland, where he is head of the UQ Dinosaur Lab and Chair of First Nations Engagement. He is also Research Associate at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Associate Editor for the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and a Scientific Board member of the Jurassic Foundation.

Steve studied biology and geology at the University of Sydney, receiving the Edgeworth David Award for Palaeontology in 1993. He then moved to the University of New South Wales (UNSW), where he completed his Honours thesis on fossil crocodilians from Murgon, south-eastern Queensland. Continuing at the UNSW, Steve travelled to Germany and the UK to complete a PhD on crocodilian locomotor evolution. He returned to Australia in 2000 to pursue a life-long dream of searching for Australian dinosaurs, and joined The University of Queensland in 2003 as a Postdoctoral Fellow.

Steve's research focuses on the evolution of Gondwanan continental vertebrates, in particular dinosaurs and crocodilians. He is also interested in vertebrate biomechanics and using extant animals to better understand the anatomy, behaviour and evolution of extinct ones. His field-based research takes him to various parts of Queensland, the Kimberley, New Zealand and Antarctica.

Research Interests

  • Dinosaurs
    Australasian Cretaceous dinosaur faunas; evolution of Australasian ornithopods, thyreophorans, sauropods and theropods; Gondwanan dinosaur palaeobiogeography; dinosaur trackways
  • Crocodiles
    evolution of Australasian crocodilians; origin of modern crocodilians; crocodilian locomotor evolution; crocodilian lung ventilation; crocodilian growth dynamics
  • Biomechanics
    locomotor evolution of dinosaurs and crocodilians; vertebral bracing in archosaurs; feeding behaviour in crocodilians
  • Other research interests
    evolution of Australian Cretaceous fishes; evolution of Australian pterosaurs; geology and taphonomy of Australian Cretaceous dinosaur localities; palaeopathology in fossil archosaurs
  • Cultural Heritage
    First Nations cultural heritage, Traditional Knowledge, ethnography,

Research Impacts

The results of Steve's research have been widely covered in the media, and he provides regular commentary on palaeontological research via the Australian Science Media Centre. His research has been the impetus for the establishment of a $1.5 million interpretive centre in the outback town of Isisford, central-western Queensland, and recently helped to secure National Heritage Listing of dinosaur tracks on the Dampier Peninsula, north of Broome, which subsequently contributed to the collapse of a $40+ billion LNG development.

Steve's honours include the Rea Postdoctoral Fellowship (2007-2009, Carnegie Museum of Natural History), an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (Industry) (2003-2006, The University of Queensland), an Australian Postgraduate Award (1995-1998, University of NSW), a Postgraduate Research Scholarship (1996-1998, German Academic Exchange Service) and The Banks Alecto Fellowship (1996-1997, The Royal Society, London). He has also received research funding from the Australian Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Australian Geographic Society, the Linnean Society of NSW, Isisford Shire Council, Longreach Regional Council, Winton Sire Council, Queensland Museum, The Western Australian Greens, The Wilderness Society and Land Rover Australia.


View all Publications


View all Supervision

Available Projects

View all Available Projects


Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Salisbury, Steven W. and Naish, Darren (2011). Crocodilians. English Wealden Fossils. (pp. 305-369) edited by David Batten and Philip D. Lane. Aberystwyth, Wales, U.K.: Paleontological Association.

  • Frey, E. and Salisbury, S. W. (2007). Crocodilians of the Crato Formation: evidence for enigmatic species. The Crato Fossil Beds of Brazil - Window into an Ancient World. (pp. 463-474) edited by Martill, D. M., Bechly, G. and Loveridge, R. F.. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511535512.017

  • Molnar, R. E. and Salisbury, S. W. (2005). Observations on Cretaceous Sauropods from Australia. Thunder-Lizards: the sauropodomorph dinosaurs. (pp. 454-465) edited by Kenneth Carpenter and Virginia Tidwell. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

  • Salisbury. S. W. and Frey, E. (2001). A biomechanical transformation model for the evolution of semi-spheroidal articulations between adjoining vertebral bodies in crocodilians. Crocodilian biology and evolution. (pp. 121-148) edited by Gordon C. Grigg, Frank Seebacher and Craig E. Franklink. Chipping Norton, NSW, Australia: Surrey Beatty & Sons.

  • Frey, E. and Salisbury, S. W. (2001). The kinematics of aquatic locomotion in Osteolaemus tetraspis Cope. Crocodilian biology and evolution. (pp. 165-179) edited by Gordon C. Grigg, Frank Seebacher and Craig E. Franklin. Chipping Norton, NSW, Australia: Surrey Beatty & Sons.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.