Investigator Neogene & Quaternary Faunas

(Krimpen aan den Ijssel, Netherlands, 1959)

Jan van Dam is senior researcher within the department Neogene and Quaternary faunas at ICP, and guest researcher at the Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. His research focuses on major biological questions in a geological context, attempting to bridge fields such as evolutionary biology, macroecology, stratigraphy and paleoclimatology. He finished his PhD at Utrecht University, the Netherlands in 1997 with a study on the taxonomy, chronology, paleobiology and paleoecology of Late Miocene micromammals from the Teruel Basin, Spain. He performed several postdoc studies at Utrecht University focusing on patterns and causes of small-mammal turnover and reconstructions of Neogene European terrestrial climate. He fulfilled research grant positions in Madrid and Helsinki, and is guest researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Currently he is involved in studies involving terrestial astrochronology, isotopic geochemistry, geometric morphometrics, and the modeling of body size evolution.

 Fieldwork area in Teruel Basin (Spain) showing the micromammal-containing, astronomically-tuned section of Prado

He published his work in important journals, such as Nature, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Palaeo3, Journal of Paleontology and Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. His research has received support from the Spanish Ministery of Science and Innovation, Dutch Science Foundation, Utrecht University, Academy of Finland, Diputacíon General de Aragón, Cultural Exchange Program Utrecht University-CSIC, and EC-funded BiodIberia Program. Extensive fieldwork experience has been acquired by him in Spain, Turkey and Pakistan. He has teached at Utrecht University and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, was invited speaker or participant at many occasions, among which is a stay as Flint Lecturer at Yale University. Currently he is the chair of the Dutch-Flemish Paleobiological Circle, for which he also coordinated a series of symposia and excursions. Between 2001 and 2009 he fulfilled an associated editorship for the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.


Some upper teeth of the Late Miocene shrew Amblycoptus jessiae 

Jan van Dam is actively cooperating with the Department of Earth Sciences at Utrecht University (the Netherlands), particularly with regard to (astro)chronology, faunal dynamics and stable isotope geochemistry. Furthermore, he cooperates with the Department of Sedimentology and Marine Geology and with the Department of Theoretical Biology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (the Netherlands) on the stable isotope geochemistry of continental Miocene gastropods, and the modeling of rodent body size in seasonal environments, respectively. He has established long-term scientific cooperations with other Spanish institutes, notably the National Museum of Natural History in Madrid and the Fundación Conjunto Paleontologico de Teruel-Dinópolis.  


  • Alcalá, L., L. Luque, J. A. van Dam, J. C. Rubio. Cuenca de Teruel y Fosa del Jiloca. In L. Alcalá, J. P. Calvo, J. L. Simón, eds., Geología de Teruel. Instituto de Estudios Turolenses. (accepted).
  • Casanovas-Vilar, I. A. Madern, D. M. Alba, L. Cabrera, I. García-Paredes, L. W. van den Hoek Ostende, D. DeMiguel, J. M. Robles, M. Furió, J. A. van Dam, M. Garcés, S. Moyà-Solà. The Miocene mammal record of the Vallès-Penedès basin (Catalonia). Comptes Rendus PalEvol (accepted).Casanovas-Vilar, I., M. Garcés, J. A. van Dam, I. García-Paredes, J. M. Robles, D. M. Alba. 2015. An updated biostratigraphy for the late Aragonian and the Vallesian of the Vallès-Penedès Basin (Catalonia). Geologica Acta (in press).
  • Van Dam, J. A., Utescher, T. 2016. Plant- and micromammal-based paleoprecipitation proxies: Comparing results of the Coexistence and Climate-Diversity Approach. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 443: 18-33.
  • Hordijk, K., A. Bosma, H. De Bruijn, J. A. van Dam, C. Geraedts, L. W. van den Hoek Ostende, J. Reumer, W. Wessels. 2015. Biostratigraphic and paleoecologic implications of the small mammal assemblage from the late Early Miocene of Montalvos 2, Teruel Basin, Spain. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments 95: 321-346.
  • Van Dam, J. A., W. Krijgsman, H. A. Abels, M. Á. Álvarez-Sierra, I. García-Paredes, P. López-Guerrero, P. Peláez-Campomanes, D. Ventra. 2014. Updated chronology for middle to late Miocene mammal sites of the Daroca area (Calatayud-Montalbán Basin, Spain). Geobios 74: 325-334.
  • Van Dam, J. A., M. Furió, R. T. van Balen. 2014. Re-interpreting the biochronology of the La Celia and Los Gargantones mammal sites (late Miocene, Murcia, Spain). Geobios 47: 155-162.
  • Furió, M., J. A. van Dam, F. Kaya. 2014. New insectivores (Lipotyphla, Mammalia) from the Upper Miocene of the Sivas Basin, Central Anatolia. Bulletin of Geosciences 89: 161-181.
  • Casanovas-Vilar, I., J. A. van Dam. 2013. Conservatism and adaptability in the squirrel radiation: what is mandible shape telling us? PLoS ONE 8: e61298.
  • Prieto, J., J. A. van Dam. 2013. Primitive Anourosoricini and Allosoricinae from the Miocene of Germany. Geobios 45: 581-589.
  • Rodríguez-López, J .P, C.L. Liesa, J. A. van Dam, P. Lafuente, L. Arlegui, L. Ezquerro, P. L. de Boer. 2012. Aeolian construction and alluvial dismantling of a fault-bounded intracontinental aeolian dune field (Teruel Basin, Spain); a continental perspective on late Pliocene climate change and variability. Sedimentology 59: 1536-1567.
  • Hilgen, F. J., L. Lourens, J. A. van Dam. 2012. The Neogene Period. 947-1102 in Gradstein, F.M., J.G. Ogg, M.D. Schmitz, G. Ogg, eds, A geological time scale 2012. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  • Prieto, J., J. A. van Dam. Primitive Anourosoricini and Allosoricinae from the Miocene of Germany. Geobios 45: 581-589.
  • Rodríguez-López, J.P, C.L. Liesa, J. A. van Dam, P. Lafuente, L. Arlegui, L. Ezquerro, P. L. de Boer. Aeolian construction and alluvial dismantling of a fault-bounded intracontinental aeolian dune field (Teruel Basin, Spain); a continental perspective on late Pliocene climate change and variability. Sedimentology 59: 1536-1567.
  • López-Guerrero, P., I. García-Paredes, L. W. van den Hoek Ostende, J. A. van Dam, M. Á. Álvarez-Sierra, V. Hernández-Ballarín, A. J. van der Meulen, A. Oliver, P. Paláez-Campomanes. 2011. Cañada: a new micromammal succession from the Lower Vallesian of the Daroca area (Calatayud-Montalbán basin, Spain). Estudiós Geologicos 67: 443-453.
  • Hilgen, F. J., L. Lourens, J. A. van Dam, The Neogene Period. Pp. 947-1002 in Gradstein, F.M., J.G. Ogg, M.D. Schmitz, G. Ogg, eds, A geological time scale 2012, Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  • Dam, J. A. van. 2011 Scanning the fossil record: stratophenomics and the generation of primary evolutionary-ecological data. Evolutionary Ecology. DOI 10.1007/s10682-011-9511-9.
  • Dam, J. A. van. J. Fortuny, L. J. van Ruijven. MicroCT-scans of fossil micromammal teeth: re-defining hypsodonty and enamel proportion using true volume. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 311: 303-310.
  • Casanovas-Vilar, I., J. A. van Dam, S. Moyà-Solà, L. Rook. 2011. Late Miocene insular mice from the Tusco-Sardinian palaeobioprovince provide new insights on the palaeoecology of theOreopithecus faunas. J. Hum. Evol. 61: 42-49.
  • Casanovas-Vilar, I., J. A. van Dam, L. Trebini, L. Rook. 2011. The rodents from the Oreopithecus-bearing site of Fiume Santo (Sardinia, Italy). Geobios 44: 173-187.
  • Dam, J. A. van., L.W. van den Hoek Ostende, J. W. F. Reumer. 2011. A new short-snouted shrew from the Miocene of Spain. Geobios 44: 297-307.
  • Dam, J. A. van. 2010. The systematic position of Anourosoricini (Soricidae, Mammalia): paleontological and molecular evidence. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
  • Troost, T. A., J. A. van Dam, B. W. Kooi & E. Tuenter. 2009. Seasonality, climate cycles and body size evolution. Mathematical Modeling of Natural Phenomena 4: 135-155.
  • Casanovas-Vilar, I. & J. A. van Dam. 2009. Landmark-based morphometrics of micromammal mandibles and effects of phylogeny and function: preliminary results. First Iberian Symposium on Geometric Morphometrics, Sabadell, 23-25 July, 2009. Paleontologia i Evolució memòria especial 3: 41-42.
  • Dam, J.A. van, G. J. Reichart. 2009. Oxygen and carbon isotope signatures in Late Neogene horse teeth from Spain and application as temperature and seasonality proxies. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 274: 64-81.
  • Bret Bennington, J., W. A. DiMichele, C. Badgley, R. Bambach , P. M. Barrett, A. K. Behrensmeyer, R. Bobe, R. J. Burnham, E. B. Daeschler, J. van Dam, J. T. Eronen, D. H. Erwin, S. Finnegan, S. M. Holland, G. Hunt, D. Jablonski, S. T. Jackson, B. F. Jacobs, S. M. Kidwell, P. L. Koch, M. K. Kowalewski, C. C. Labandeira, C. V. Looy, S. K. Lyons, P. M. Novack-Gottshall, R. Potts, P. D. Roopnarine, C. A. E. Strömberg, H.-D. Sues, P. J. Wagner, P. Wilf, S. L. Wing. 2009. Critical issues of scale in paleoecology. Palaios 24: 1-4.
  • Dam, J. A. van, H. Abdul Aziz, M. A. Álvarez Sierra, F. J. Hilgen, L. W. van den Hoek Ostende, L. Lourens, P. Mein, A. J. van der Meulen, P. Pelaez-Campomanes. 2006. Long-period astronomical forcing of mammal turnover. Nature 443: 687-691.
  • Dam, J. A. van. 2006. Geographic and temporal patterns in the late Neogene (12-3 Ma) aridification of Europe. The use of small mammals as paleoprecipitation proxies. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 238: 190-218.
  • Alcalá, L., van Dam, J., Luque, L., Montoya, P. and J. Abella. 2005. Nuevos mamíferos vallesienses en Masía de La Roma (Cuenca de Teruel). Geogaceta 37: 199-202.
  • Gradstein, F.M., J. G. Ogg, A. G. Smith, F. P.Agterberg, W. Bleeker, R. A. Cooper, V. Davydov, P. Gibbard, L. A. Hinnov, M. R. House, L. J. Lourens, H.- P. Luterbacher, J. McArthur, M. J. Melchin, L. J. Robb, J. Shergold, M. Villeneuve, B. R. Wardlaw, J. Ali, H. Brinkhuis, F. J. Hilgen, J. Hooker, R. J. Howarth, A. H. Knoll, J. Laskar, S. Monechi, K. A. Plumb, J. Powell, I. Raffi, U. Röhl, P. Sadler, A. Sanfilppo, B. Schmitz, N. J. Shackleton, G. A. Shields, H. Strauss, J. A. van Dam, T. van, Kolfschoten, J. Veizer, D. Wilson. 2005. A Geologic Time Scale 2004. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Dam, J. A. van. 2004. Anourosoricini (Soricidae, Mammalia) from the Mediterranean Region: a pre-Quaternary example of recurrent climate-controlled North-South range shifting. Journal of Paleontology 78: 741-764.
  • Abdul Aziz, H., J. A. van Dam, F. Hilgen, W. Krijgsman. 2004. Astronomical forcing in Upper Miocene continental sequences: implications for the Geomagnetic Polarity Time Scale. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 222: 243-258.
  • Dam, J. A.van. 2003. European mammal-based chronological systems: past, present and future. Deinsia 10: 85-96.
  • Dam, J. A., E. Sanz Rubio. 2003. Late Miocene and Pliocene small mammals from the Calatayud Basin (Central Spain). Colloquios de Paleontología Vol. Ext. 1: 115-126.
  • Bernor, R. L., L. Kordos, L. Rook, J. Agustí, P. Andrews, M. Armour-Chelu, M., Begun, D. W. Cameron, J. Damuth, G. Daxner-Höck, L. De Bonis, O. Fejfar, N. Fessaha, M. Fortelius, J. Franzen, M. Gasparik, A. Gentry, K. Heissig, G. Hernyak, T. Kaiser, G. D. Koufos, E. Krolopp, D. Janossy, M. Llenas, L. Meszáros, P. Müller, P. Renne, Z. Rocek, S. Sen, R. Scott, Z. Styndlar, G. Topal, P. S. Unger, T. Utescher, J. A. van Dam, J., L. Werdelin, R. Ziegler. 2003. Recent Advances on Multidisciplinary Research at Rudabánya, Late Miocene (MN9), Hungary: a compendium. Palaeontographia Italica 89: 3-36.
  • Sanz-Rubio, E. S. Sánchez-Moral, J. C. Cañaveras, H. Abdul-Aziz, J. P. Calvo, S. Cuezva, A.V. Mazo, J. M. Rouchy, C. Sesé, J. A. van Dam 2003. Síntesis de la cronoestratigrafía y evolución sedimentaria de los sistemas lacustres evaporíticos y carbonatados neógenos de la Cuenca de Calatayud-Montalbán. Estudios Geológicos 59: 83-107.
  • Renaud, S., J. A. van Dam. 2002. Influence of biotic and abiotic environment on size and shape evolution in a Late Miocene murine lineage (Teruel Basin, Spain). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 184: 163-175.
  • Damuth, J., M. Fortelius, Dam, J. A. van, P. Andrews, C. Badgley, E. A. Hadley, S. Hixson, C. Janis, R. H. Madden, K. Reed, F. A. Smith, J. Theodor, J. van Dam, B. van Valkenburgh, L. Werdelin. 2002. Reconstructing mean annual precipitation, based on mammalian dental morphology and local species richness. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual congress. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 23 supplement to 3: 48A.
  • Dam, J. A. van, P. Andrews, C. Badgley, J. Damuth, M. Fortelius, E. A. Hadley, S. Hixson, C., Janis, R. H. Madden, K. Reed, F. A. Smith, J. Theodor, B. van Valkenburgh, L. Werdelin. 2001. Within-habitat mammal diversity and productivity and their recent patterns across latitude. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual congress. Abstracts of Papers. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 22 supplement to 3: 43A.
  • Dam, J. A. van, L. Alcalá, A. M. Alonso Zarza, J. P. Calvo, M. Garcés, W. Krijgsman. 2001. The Upper Miocene mammal record from the Teruel-Alfambra region (Spain): the MN system and continental Stage/Age concepts discussed. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 21: 367-385.
  • Alcalá, L., A.M. Alonso-Zarza, M.A. Álvarez Sierra, B. Azanza, J. P. Calvo, J. C. Cañaveras, J. A. van Dam, M. Garcés, W. Krijgsman, A. J. van der Meulen, J. Morales, P. Peláez-Campomanes, A. Pérez González, S. Sánchez Moral, R. Sancho, E. Sanz Rubio. 2000. El registro sedimentario y faunístico de las cuencas de Calatayud-Daroca y Teruel. Evolución paleoambiental y paleoclimática durante el Neógeno. Revista de la Sociedad Geológica de España 13: 323-343.
  • Alonso Zarza, A. M., J. P. Calvo, J. van Dam, L. Alcalá. 2000. Northern Teruel Graben (Neogene), Northeastern Spain. Pp 491-496 in E. H. Gierlowski-Kordesch and K. R. Kelts, eds. Lake basins through space and time. AAPG Studies in geology 46.
  • Alcalá, L., A.M. Alonso Zarza, J. P. Calvo, and J. van Dam. 1999. Neógeno de al fosa de Teruel. Pp. 96-116 in A. Melendez, ed. XXXII Curso de Geología práctica. Universidad de Verano de Teruel.
  • Alcalá, L., A. M. Alonso Zarza, J. P. Calvo, J. van Dam. 1999. Teruel Miocene classic mammal sites. Pp 93-100 in G. Canudo and G. Cuenca-Bescós, eds. IV European workshop on vertebrate palaeontology, Albarracin. Programme and Abstracts. Field guide.
  • Calvo, J. P., L. Alcalá, A. M. Alonso Zarza, J. van Dam, F. Gutíerrez Santolalla. 1999. Stratigrafía y estructura del área de Los Mansuetos (Cuenca de Teruel). Precisiones para la definición del estratotipo del Turoliense. Geogaceta 52: 55-58.
  • Dam, J. A. van, G. J. Weltje. 1999. Reconstruction of the late Miocene climate of Spain using rodent paleocommunity successions: an application of end-member modelling. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 151: 267-305.
  • Garcés, M., W. Krijgsman, J. van Dam, J. P. Calvo, L. Alcalá, and A. M. Alonso-Zarza. 1999. Late Miocene alluvial sediments from the Teruel area: Magnetostratigraphy, magnetic susceptibility, and facies organisation. Acta Geológica Hispanica 32: 171-184.
  • Daams, R., L. Alcalá, M. A. Alvarez Sierra, B. Azanza, J. A. van Dam, A. J. van der Meulen, J. Morales, M. Nieto, P. Palaez‑Campomanes, and D. Soria. 1998. A stratigraphical framework for Miocene (MN4‑MN13) continental sediments of Central Spain. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences, Sciences de la terre et des planetes 327: 625‑631.
  • Dam, J. A. van. 1998. An Upper Miocene “high-resolution” small mammal record from Spain: faunal dynamics and climate change. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual congress. Abstracts of Papers. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 18 supplement to 3: 83A.
  • Dam, J.A. van. 1998. The Gliridae from the Upper Eocene of Sossís, Roc de Santa and Claverol (Lleida, Spain). Pp. 131-180 in N. López Martínez, J. Civis Llovera, M. L. Casanovas Cladellas, R. Daams, eds. Geología and Paleontología del Eoceno de la Pobla de Segur (Lleida). Universitat de Lleida, Lleida, Spain.
  • Dam, J. A. van. 1997. The small mammals from the upper Miocene of the Teruel-Alfambra region (Spain): paleobiology and paleoclimatic reconstructions. Geologica Ultraiectina 156: 1-204. PhD thesis.
  • Bruijn, H. de , J. A. van Dam, G. Daxner-Höck, V. Fahlbusch, G. Storch. 1996. The genera of Murinae, endemic insular forms excepted, of Europe and Anatolia during the Late Miocene and Early Pliocene.Pp. 253-260 in R. L. Bernor, V. Fahlbusch, and H.-W. Mittmann, eds. The evolution of western Eurasian Neogene mammal faunas. Columbia University Press, New York.
  • Dam, J. A. van. 1996. Stephanodonty in fossil murids: a landmark-based morphometric approach. Pp. 449-461 in L. F. Marcus, M. Corti, A. Loy, G. J. P. Naylor, and D. E. Slice, eds. Advances in Morphometrics. NATO volume 284. Plenum, New York.
  • Krijgsman, W., M. Garcés, C. G. Langereis, R. Daams, J. van Dam, A. J. van der Meulen, J. Agustí, L. Cabrera. 1996. A new chronology for the middle to late Miocene continental record in Spain. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 142: 367-380.
  • Hussain, S. T., G. D. van den Bergh, K. J. Steensma, J. A. de Visser, J. de Vos, M. Arif, J. van Dam, P. Y. Sondaar, S. B. Malik. 1992. Biostratigraphy of the Plio-Pleistocene continental sediments (Upper Siwaliks) of the Mangla-Samwal Anticline, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. Proceedings of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Academie van Wetenschappen B 95: 65-80.


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