St John's College Oxford

Dr Tom Kemp

Emeritus Research Fellow in Zoology



My research interests have always focussed mainly on the fossil ‘mammal-like’ reptiles of the Permo-Triassic, which are intermediate in grade between primitive reptiles and true mammals. They reveal a great deal about how, when, and why the mammals evolved. I am also interested in more general and philosophical questions about the fossil record and how it impacts on our knowledge of evolutionary mechanisms, particularly how major evolutionary change leading to new kinds of organisms occurred.

In addition to writing research papers, I co-edited a volume of essays, Studies in vertebrate evolution (1972: Oliver & Boyd), and since then have written three single-authored books, Mammal-like reptiles and the origin of mammals (1982: Academic Press), Fossils and evolution (1999: OUP), and most recently The origin and evolution of mammals (2005: OUP).