Mike Archer
Mike Archer

Professor Mike Archer AM

Michael Archer, BA(mcl), PhD, AM, FAA, FRSN, FRZSNSW, FACE, FWAAS is Professor of PalaeoBiology, University of New South Wales.

Mike graduated from Princeton University in geology and biology in 1967 and, after coming to Australia as a Fulbright scholar, was awarded a PhD in zoology in 1976 by the University of Western Australia.

His career includes stints at the Western Australian, Queensland, and Australian museums. He was director of the Australian Museum from 1999 to 2004. He joined UNSW in 1978, where he has taught continuously, mainly in biology and geology, and was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Science in 2004.

Since 1970, Mike has authored and coauthored more than 300 publications, including four in the prestigious journal Nature and authored more than 14 books and four reports for the Federal Government. He has named and studied (sometimes with coauthors) more than 120 new species, genera, families, and orders of both living and extinct mammals discovered as a consequence of his research.  

Mike is perhaps best known for leading research into the extraordinary Riversleigh fossil deposits in Queensland, which led to the site being listed on World Heritage Register as an outstanding example of “major stages of the earth’s evolutionary history and significant ongoing ecological and biological evolution”.

So far, Riversleigh has yielded more than 40,000 specimens from over 200 sites, representing some 300 species of animals of all kinds. Scores of scientists around the world are involved in ongoing studies into the Riversleigh and the related Murgon fossil fields.

He has supervised 35 doctoral and 28 honours projects and won a Eureka Prize for his active and entertaining promotion of science and conservation in schools, the media, and in public forums.