Dr. Julia Sankey

I am Professor of Paleobiology and Geology at California State University, Stanislaus. I have a background in both biology and geology. My B.S. is in Biology from the College of Idaho. My M.S. is in Quaternary Studies from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. My thesis was on Pliocene-Pleistocene vertebrates and magnetostratigraphy of southwestern Idaho. During that time, I worked for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Paleomagnetics Lab in Flagstaff. My Ph.D. is from Louisiana State University (Department of Geology and Geophysics), where I was collections manager of vertebrate paleontology in the Museum of Natural Science. My dissertation was on Late Cretaceous vertebrates and magnetostratigraphy of Big Bend National Park, Texas.

My current research is on 5 million year old giant salmon, tortoises, and other fossils from the Mehrten Formation exposed in and around Turlock Lake. Additionally, we are studying the sedimentology and depositional environments of the Mehrten.

Dr. Julia Sankey
​Contact Information

Building #35 Naraghi Hall - See Map
Office: # 157 - See Map

Phone: (209) 667-3090

E-mail: jsankey@csustan.edu


Curriculum Vitae

View as PDF

Students, if you are interested in participating, let me know.

collage of pictures of people at a river

I am also an honorary research associate at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, Canada, the University of California Berkeley's Museum of Paleontology, Louisiana State University’s Museum of Natural Science, and the College of Idaho’s (C of I) O.J. Smith Museum of Natural History.

Currently I am very active with the C of I Museum, and am on the board of directors. I am also on several committees, including the exhibits committee, where I will be helping revamp the paleobiology/geology exhibits.

Students, if you are interested in participating, let me know.

Honorary Positions

Recent Invited Presentations

  • 2016. “Giant, tusk-toothed salmon, Galapagos-sized tortoises, and other extinct wildlife of Central California". College of Idaho, O.J. Smith Museum of Natural History, Night at the Museum Event for Homecoming. October 7, 2016.
  • Sankey, J.T. 2016. “Giant, tusk-toothed salmon, Galapagos-sized tortoises, and other extinct wildlife of Central California”. Darwin Day. Modesto Junior College. February 10, 2016.
  • Sankey, J.T. 2015. “Giant salmon and other extinct wildlife of Stanislaus County, California”. Stockton Area Atheists and Freethinkers, Manteca Public Library, September 16, 2015.
  • Sankey, J.T. and students. 2014. “Sankey Paleo Research Group presentations”. Modesto Junior College, spring semester, 2014.

External Grants

  • CSUS, Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Grants (2016). “Book Project: Giant Tortoises and Tusk-toothed Salmon: The Extinct Wildlife of Central California”, $4705.
  • Dept of Education. Two grants to CSUS to support STEM. Research Mentor, 2013-present. Faculty and student research on the geology and paleobiology of the Mehrten Formation (Miocene-Pliocene, ~5 Mya), Central Valley, CA. Grants fund research supplies, partial teaching release, and research/conference travel support for me and research students.


California State University, Stanislaus, Department of Physics and Geology, 2003 to present

  • Dinosaurs
  • History of Earth and Life (lecture and lab)
  • Sedimentary Rocks and Depositional Environments
  • Earth Science
  • Paleontology/Stratigraphy
  • Principles of Geology (lecture and lab)
  • California Geology
  • Geological Field Excursions - Big Bend National Park, Texas
  • Independent Research Study in Paleontology

Other Interests

I love to travel, and have had fantastic trips to Paris and southern France, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Australia, Venezuela, Mexico, Canada, Bulgaria, Greece, etc. However, there’s still a lot of the world I want to see such as New Guinea, Africa, Argentina, Italy, Great Brittan, etc. Stanislaus State Geology students: “Let’s Go!”