Karen Chin
Geological Sciences • CU Museum of Natural History

Office: MCOL W210C

**Please note that Professor Chin does not plan to accept any new graduate students for the 2024-2025 academic year.


My research investigates the structure and dynamics of ancient ecosystems--particularly those of the Mesozoic Era (about 65 to 250 million years ago).   I am interested in how ancient communities of organisms differed from modern ecosystems in composition and organization.  Much of my work focuses on tapping information available in permineralized coprolites (fossil feces), but I also examine other trace and body fossils.  My work focuses on understanding interactions among ancient organisms, and deducing the environmental conditions in which these organisms lived and were fossilized.  I use a multidisciplinary approach by examining geological, biological, and chemical characteristics of fossils and compare the fossil evidence with modern ecosystems to derive paleoecological interpretations.


paleoecology, ichnology (trace fossils), petrographic and chemical analyses of fossils, coprolites, dinosaur diets

Research Interests

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara 1996