Michael Ziegler

Doctoral Researcher
Department of Archaeology
+49 3641 686-755

Main Focus

Michael Ziegler is a PhD researcher with the Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology (MPI-GEA) in collaboration with the ERC-funded LASTJOURNEY project coordinated by Dr. José Iriarte at the University of Exeter. His PhD project, advised by Dr. Patrick Roberts, focuses on the paleoecology of northwest South America during the Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene transition. He is interested in utilizing stable isotope analyses to better understand megafaunal extinction on the South American landscape and spatio-temporal variations in the dietary behavior of fossil taxa as a response to shifts in paleoenvironmental conditions and selective anthropogenic pressures.

Curriculum Vitae

Michael Ziegler holds a BSc degree in Environmental Science & Geology from Georgia College (2016) and a MSc in Geology from University of Florida (2019). His BSc thesis titled "Exploring the Neodymium Isotopic Signatures of Marine Sediments from Across Panamá" was a result of a REU internship with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and served as a case study to better understand the shoaling of the Central American Seaway. Other undergraduate research focused on taphonomic alterations of megafauna (i.e., Bison latifrons) from a Pleistocene fossil assemblage in southeast Georgia, USA to better understand predator-prey relationships on the local landscape

Following undergrad, he completed a fellowship with the Koobi Fora Field School where he mapped and analyzed fossiliferous Middle Stone Age localities in the Turkana Basin of Kenya. Most recently, his MSc thesis titled "Paleoenvironmental Analysis of Montbrook: An Unusual Fossil Locality from the Late Miocene – Early Pliocene in Northern Florida, USA" was a multifaceted research project that utilized the site's mixed faunal assemblage and local/regional stratigraphy to provide some of the first direct insights into transitional terrestrial ecosystems from the Miocene-Pliocene transition in the southeastern USA.



  • Iriarte, J., Aceituno, F.J., Robinson, M., Morcote-Rios, G., and Ziegler, M.J. (2022). The Painted Forest: Rock Art and Archaeology in the Colombian Amazon. University of Exeter. 112 pp. ISBN: 978-0-902746-80-0.  


  • Vitek, N., Hoeflich, J.C., Magallanes, I., Moran, S.M., Narducci, R.E., Perez, V.J., Pirlo, J., Riegler, M.S., Selba, M.C., Vallejo-Pareja, M.C., Ziegler, M.J., Granatosky, M.C., Hulbert Jr, R.C., and Bloch, J.I. (2024) An Extinct North American Porcupine with a South American Tail. Current Biology. 34: 1–7. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2024.04.069
  • Selba, M.C., Ziegler, M.J., Townley, A.L., and Antonenko, P.D. (2024) Exploring teacher self-efficacy in human evolution instruction following a dynamic hands-on professional development workshop. Evolution: Education & Outreach. 17: 5. DOI: 10.1186/s12052-024-00197-x
  • Iriarte, J., Ziegler M.J., Outram, A.K., Robinson, M., Roberts, P., Aceituno, F.J., Morcote-Rios, G., and Keesey, T.M. (2022). Ice age megafauna rock art in Colombian Amazon? Philosophical Transactions B. 377: 20200496. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2020.0496
  • Ziegler M.J., Perez V.J., Pirlo J., Narducci R.E., Moran S.M., Selba M.C., Hastings A.K., Vargas-Vergara C., Antonenko P.D., and MacFadden B.J. (2020). Applications of 3D Paleontological Data at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Frontiers in Earth Science8:600696. DOI10.3389/feart.2020.600696
  • Cheng L., Antonenko P.D., Ritzhaupt A.D., Dawson K., Miller D., MacFadden B. J., Grant C., Sheppard T.D., and Ziegler M.J. (2020). Exploring the Influence of Teachers' Beliefs and 3D Printing Integrated STEM Instruction on Students’ STEM Motivation. Computers & Education. 158:103983. DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2020.103983

Articles (In Review)

  • Ziegler, M.J., Robinson, M., Aceituno, F.J., Morcote-Ríos, G., Iriarte, J., and Roberts, P. Human dietary diversity in the Colombian Andes at the late Pleistocene-Holocene sites Tequendama and Aguazuque. (in review) iScience.
  • Robinson, M., Hampson, J., Aceituno, F.J., Morcote-Ríos, G., Osborn, J., Ziegler, M.J., and Iriarte, J. Animals of the Serranía de la Lindosa: Exploring representation and categorisation in the rock art and zooarchaeological remains of the Colombian Amazon. (in review) Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
  • Roberts, P., Caetano-Andrade, V. L., Fisher, M., Hamilton, R., Rudd, R.R., Stokes, F., Amano, N., Dugmore, A., Findley, D.M., Fisher, M., Furquim, L.P., Fletcher, M-S., Haberle, S., Hambrecht, G., Heddell-Stevens, P., Iminjili, V., Jha, D., Jha, G., Kinyanjui, R., Maezumi, S.Y., Morrison, K., Renn, J., Stevenson, J., Winkelmann, R., Ziegler, M.J., Zuccarelli, V., Scarborough, V., White, S., Degroot,D., Green, A., Isendahl, C. Uncovering the multi-biome environmental and Earth system legacies of past human societies. (in review) Annual Review of Environment and Resources.
  • Killingsworth, S.R., MacFadden, B.J., Perez, V.J., Moran, S.M., Pirlo, J., and Ziegler, M.J. Global strontium isotopes preserved in fossil shark teeth calibrate Neogene land mammal evolution. (in review) PNAS

Thesis Work

  • Ziegler, M.J. (2019). Paleoenvironmental Analysis of Montbrook: An Unusual Fossil Locality from the Late Miocene – Early Pliocene in Northern Florida, USA. Unpublished Masters Thesis, Available in the Department of Geological Sciences at University of Florida. https://original-ufdc.uflib.ufl.edu/UFE0056228/00001
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