Mike Archer (paleontologist)

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Professor Michael Archer AM, FAA, FRSN (born 1945, Sydney, New South Wales) is an Australian paleontologist specialising in Australian vertebrates. He is a Professor at the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales. His previous appointments include Director of the Australian Museum 1999–2004[1] and Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales 2004–2009.[2]

Education and career[edit]

Archer was born in Sydney but raised in the United States and studied at Princeton University. From 1972 to 1978, he was the curator of mammals at the Queensland Museum.[3] Since 1983, he has been involved with the exploration of the Riversleigh fossil site in Queensland.[4]

He is opposed to creationism and regularly engages in active debates with creationists.

During his time as director of the Australian Museum, he was the initiator of attempts to clone the Thylacinus cynocephalus, the Tasmanian tiger, an animal extinct since 1936.[5][6] Archer has stated that he is obsessed with bringing the thylacine back to life via cloning. He has said that his obsession is going to push the research further and further until he and his team will have their first living thylacine clone.[7]

In 2011, Archer published an article asserting that a vegetarian diet causes more suffering and deaths of animals than an omnivorous diet based on sustainable husbandry.[8]

Archer is married to the paleontologist Suzanne Hand, with whom he has two daughters.



  • Archer, M. (Ed.) (1982). Carnivorous Marsupials. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, 1982. ISBN 978-0-9599951-3-8 (2 volumes)
  • Archer, M. and Clayton, C. (Eds.) (1984). Vertebrate Zoogeography & Evolution in Australasia: Animals in Space & Time. Hesperian Press. ISBN 978-0-85905-036-4
  • Archer, M. and Flannery, T.F. with Grigg, G.C. (1985) The Kangaroo. Kevin Weldon Press. ISBN 978-0-949708-22-9
  • Archer, M., Hand, S. and Godthelp, H. (1986). Uncovering Australia's Dreamtime. Surrey Beatty & Sons ISBN 0-949324-07-8
  • Archer, M. (Ed.) (1987). Possums and Opossums: Studies in Evolution. Surrey Beatty & Sons in association with the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales. ISBN 0-949324-05-1
  • Cronin, L. (Ed.) (1987). Koala: Australia's Endearing Marsupial. Reed Books Pty, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7301-0158-1 (text by Archer et al.)
  • Long, J.A., Archer, M., Flannery, T. and Hand, S. (2002). Prehistoric mammals of Australia and New Guinea: One hundred million years of evolution. University of NSW Press. ISBN 978-0-86840-435-6
  • Archer, M., Hand, S. and Godthelp, H. (2000). Australia's lost world: Prehistoric animals of Riversleigh. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-33914-0
  • Archer, Michael; Beale, Bob (2004). Going Native: Living in the Australian Environment. Sydney: Hodder Headline. p. 358. ISBN 0733615228.


  1. ^ "Curators and Directors of the Australian Museum". Australian Museum. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  2. ^ "Professor Mike Archer - Profile". UNSW Faculty of Science. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  3. ^ Prof. Mike Archer (Australia) Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine Honorary Associates of Rationalist International, retrieved 2009-08-08
  4. ^ Riversleigh fossils Encyclopædia Britannica, retrieved 2009-08-08
  5. ^ With a Tiger in the Tank World Press Review, published August 2002, retrieved 2009-08-08
  6. ^ True or False? Extinction Is Forever Smithsonian magazine, June 2003, retrieved 2009-08-08
  7. ^ Video on YouTube
  8. ^ Archer, Mike (15 December 2011). "Ordering the vegetarian meal? There's more animal blood on your hands". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2017. But if you want to minimise animal suffering and promote more sustainable agriculture, adopting a vegetarian diet might be the worst possible thing you could do.
  9. ^ The Clarke Medal and Clarke Memorial Lectureship Archived 2010-03-14 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Australia Day 2008 Honours List Archived 2009-10-25 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Fellows of RSNSW". RSNSW. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  12. ^ Carroll, Lucy (15 Oct 2019) Society awards top honour to UNSW palaeontologist. Newsroom. University of New South Wales

External links[edit]

Preceded by Clarke Medal
Succeeded by