James (Jim) Irving Mead

Research Designated Campus Colleague
Chief Scientist & Site Director, The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs South Dakota

Jim Mead earned a Master’s in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Geosciences and paleontology at the University of Arizona, Tucson in 1983. Twenty-three years were spent at Northern Arizona University where he held various positions including Colorado Plateau Scholar in Residence, Assistant Director and Director of the Quaternary Sciences Program, and Chair of Geology. From 2008 to 2016 he served as chair of the then new Department of Geosciences at East TN State University. Jim has chaired or co-chaired over 50 MS degrees and has published 160 peer-reviewed articles. Upon retiring from academia in 2016 Jim is now Chief Scientist and Site Director at The Mammoth Site, a non-profit research organization funded by tourism in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota. Major research projects center on living and fossil lizards, snakes, and amphibians from Black Hills caves, Channel Islands (CA), Bahamas, Gray Fossil Site (TN), Grand Canyon, Western Australia, Southern China, and Sonora (Mexico).


  • Master’s in Geosciences and Paleontology, The University of Arizona in 1979
  • Ph.D. in Geosciences and Paleontology, The University of Arizona in 1983