Scientific Work


Short CV:

I am a German paleontologist and entomologist. My research focuses on the fossil history of insects, discontinuities in the history of life, and the waiting time problem.

 

Since December 2016 I work as freelance scientist and author on paleontological and ID-related questions. I am a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle, and Senior Scientist at Biologic Institute in Redmond, USA (http://www.biologicinstitute.org/people, E-mail: gbechly@biologicinstitute.org). In 2019 I co-founded the German-speaking scientific association Zentrum für BioKomplexität & NaturTeleologie in Austria, for which I serve as chairman.

 

In 1999 I  earned my Ph.D. with summa cum laude from the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen (Germany), one of Europe‘s premier research universities. As a successor of Prof. Willi Hennig (esteemed founder of modern phylogenetic systematics or cladistics) and Dr. Dieter Schlee, I worked from 1999-2016  as scientific curator for amber and fossil insects in the paleontological department at the  State Museum of Natural History (SMNS) in Stuttgart (Germany), which is one of the five biggest natural history museums in Germany. I also held a teaching assignment at the University Hohenheim in Germany on insect systematics and phylogeny.

 

I have authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific publications, including a co-edited and co-authored book published by Cambridge University Press and a German popular science book on evolution, as well as several book chapters (including three chapters in the latest and largest monograph on the Solnhofen fossil locality and the chapter on insect evolution and systematics in Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia). I pioneered the phylogenetic re-classification of the insect order Odonata (dragonflies, damselflies, and their fossil relatives), made substantial contributions to the question of the evolutionary origin of insect wings, and rank among the world leading experts on fossil dragonflies and on fossil insects from the Solnhofen and Crato limestones. I have discovered and described more than 170 new species (incl. three new insect orders), and 11 biological groups have been named as eponyms by other scientists in my honor. I served on the editorial boards of five scientific journals (Petalura, OdonatologicaArchaeopteryxPalaeodiversity, and BIO-Complexity), and have organized five large public exhibitions on earth history and evolution, including the largest event in Germany for the Darwin Year Bicetennial celebrations in 2009. I have been frequently interviewed and my research has been widely featured in German and international media outlets (incl. TV, radio, print, and online media). Last but not least, I have been science advisor for three natural history documentaries by BBC and David Attenborough.

 

 

I am also serving as scholarly peer reviewer for numerous scientific manuscripts every year, (e.g., for a dozen papers in the paleontological journal Cretaceous Research, for which I received from Elsevier a certificate of outstanding contribution in reviewing that is reserved for the most active 10% of referees).

Research Interests:

Fossil history and systematics of insects (esp. dragonflies and damselflies, but also other palaeopterous pterygotes); Paleozoic fossil insects, and fossil insects from Mesozoic limestones and amber (currently with focus on the mid-Cretaceous entomofauna in Burmese amber); paleontological evidence against Neo-Darwinian macroevolution and for intelligent design theory (esp. the waiting time problem and discontinuities in the fossil record).


Research Indices:

Research Networks:

ResearcherID: M-6302-2017
ResearcherID: M-6302-2017

Letters of Support:

Since Wikipedia infamously disputed my scientific notability I here may quote from a support email that I received on Oct. 22, 2017 by Prof. Bastiaan Kiauta, the godfather of modern odonatology in the 20th century (see here): "Some time ago I have heard you had experienced some problems in the Museum, though the details are unknown to me. If there is anything I could help you in this situation, please do not hesitate to let me know. Anyway, there is no doubt that you are one of the leading and most prolific odonate palaeontologists of our time and the author of “countless” new taxa, ranging from species and up to the descriptions of new higher taxa, including some new insect orders. Although in my library many of your works are, unfortunately, missing, I estimate your opus in this field anywhere like 150 scientific publications. I shall certainly gladly do everything I possibly can to support you."

In a subsequent email from Oct. 26, 2017 he wrote " I would like to express my deep respect for your views and I venture to say, these are probably shared by quite a few of our fellow-biologists (often persuaded catholics), though I did never see (hear) such a lucid and well-documented presentation as in your above said document. It is totally incomprehensible to me that such views, coupled with your splendid and outstanding research work in palaeontology, could ever trigger the problems you were apparently faced with in the Stuttgart Museum. It is now too late, but had I known on the situation in time, I would certainly try wholeheartedly to take up for you with the responsible Museum authorities. Your recent erasement from Wikipedia, for reasons of “not being notable enough”, is to be qualified as a simple crime, causing much inconvenience to the global scientific community at large as well."