Jorge Velez-Juarbe sitting on sand while working on a dig.

Jorge Velez-Juarbe

Jorge Velez-Juarbe is Predoctoral Fellow in the Department of Paleobiology at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.  Born in Isabela, Puerto Rico, Jorge first became interested in fossils at the age of eight, and every since he wanted to be a paleontologist. Jorge has developed an expertise in the evolution and diversification of sirenians (otherwise known as the group that includes seacows, manatees and dugongs) after first collecting fossils of these marine mammals. 

In the summer of 2007, after finishing a bachelor’s degree at the Department of Geology, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, he moved to Washington, DC, to work towards his Ph.D. under the guidance of Daryl Domning in the Department of Anatomy at Howard University. He is also a research student in the Department of Paleobiology, at NMNH, where, as a member of the Pyenson Lab, he pursues his interests in other groups of marine mammals as well other extinct vertebrates from the Caribbean region.  To read more about Jorge's work, see his Caribbean Paleobiology blog and the Ocean Portal Paleobiology Blog.