Dr Espen Knutsen is a vertebrate palaeontologist and Senior Curator of Palaeontology at Queensland Museum Network, based at Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville. His position is co-appointed with the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University. 

Originally from Norway, Espen completed his PhD at the University of Oslo in 2012.

Over the past 12 years, he has conducted fieldwork and excavations in Australia, the Arctic, The Netherlands and USA. He has described five new species of Jurassic marine reptiles, and was part of an international multidisciplinary research team studying a newly discovered Jurassic marine ecosystem from the high-arctic archipelago of Svalbard, Norway. The process and results of this pioneering project were featured in two TV documentaries - National Geographic's Death of a Sea Monster and History Channel/BBC's Predator X.

He has a special interest in the diversity, evolution and ecology of Mesozoic reptiles, such as ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and dinosaurs. Current projects, involving fieldwork throughout Australia for the Australian Mesozoic Tetrapod Project, aiming to fill significant gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous vertebrate fauna in the southern hemisphere.

Social media

Twitter @espenkn80


Doctor of Philosophy, Geology and Palaeontology, University of Olso

Research projects supported by Project DIG

Cretaceous marine reptiles of Queensland

Middlemount trace fossils

Revealing microscopic details using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

Learn more about Dr Espen Knutsen