Dr. Penny Higgins is a vertebrate paleontologist currently working in Rochester, NY.
Her specialty is isotopic analysis of tooth enamel from fossil and modern mammals. She has also conducted stable isotope research on fossil mussels, snails, fish, and dinosaur eggs.
Since 2005, Penny has studied episodes of environmental change while also managing and maintaining a laboratory where isotopic analyses are conducted. During this time, she has analyzed hair, wasps, plants, and waters, in addition to her own research.
Penny received her Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Wyoming in 2000 with a study of Paleocene-aged mammals from south central Wyoming.
- A Wyoming succession of Paleocene mammal-bearing localities bracketing the boundary between the Torrejonian and Tiffanian North American Land Mammal “Ages”
- A new species of Paleocene multituberculate (Mammalia: Allotheria) from the Hanna Basin, south-central Wyoming
She did this while simultaneously completing a M.S. in Chemistry (received in 1999) studying the effects of uranium roll fronts on vertebrate fossil preservation.
Between 2000 and 2005, Penny was a postdoctoral fellow at the Florida Museum of Natural History. While there, she developed skills in isotopic sampling, preparation, and analysis of tooth enamel.
Following her postdoctoral appointment, Penny moved on to the University of Rochester where she maintained a laboratory for stable isotopes in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences from 2005 to 2019.
A full listing of Penny’s technical publications, abstracts, dissertations, and theses may be found on Penny’s Publication Page.
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Besides science, Dr. Penny is the Founder and Proprietor of Mew-Mew House, a rescue, retirement home, and hospice for cats. She also studies 14th and 15th century German longsword and practices Kuk Sool Won (traditional Korean martial arts) three times a week.
Penny has been known to dabble in writing fiction, watercolor painting, and forging knives.