Dr. Ian Miller

Director of Earth Sciences, Curator of Paleobotany, Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Raised nearly feral in rural Washington State, Ian Miller first discovered geology and paleontology while scavenging mine tailings for fool’s gold and pulling Miocene clams out of road cuts. Ian attended The Colorado College as an undergraduate and did his first paleobotanical work at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science with then-curator Kirk Johnson. After a two-year stint as a field geologist with a New Mexico geotechnical engineering firm, Ian felt the academic siren’s call and headed off to Yale University, where he studied paleobotany and tectonics, earning the title “tectonobotanist.” He briefly entertained the interest of several Hollywood executives for a major motion picture adaptation of his PhD thesis, a treatise on paleobotanical proxies for paleolatitude and other fancy stuff. Instead, he decided to come full circle. Ian returned to Denver and is now Curator of Paleobotany and Director of Earth & Space Sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. His principle interests are in the wildly popular -ologies of paleobotanical proxies for and statistical analysis of paleoclimate, paleolatitude and paleoelevation; the evolutionary history and ecological radiation of Cretaceous angiosperms; the deep-time origins of the flora of Madagascar; the recovery of terrestrial ecosystems following the K/T extinction; and the tectonic evolution of the Western Cordillera of North America. Beyond his work as a scientist, Ian also leads an ongoing major initiative at the Denver Museum, the Colorado Experience. This initiative aims to deepen our community’s connection with science and the natural world. When not digging fossils or scheming new quarries, Ian can be found fishing, skiing, or hiking Colorado’s mountains with his lovely wife Robyn and his perpetually happy dog Wilson.

During his stint in Marmarth, Ian wants to relive his summer camp glory days by running Tyler’s underpants up the town flagpole. Alternatively, he’d settle for finding a fossil leaf site for the ages.