Spencer George Lucas is an American paleontologist and stratigrapher, and curator of paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. His main areas of study are late Paleozoic, Mesozoic and early Cenozoic vertebrate fossils, stratigraphy, and continental deposits, particularly in the American Southwest. His research has taken him on field trips to northern Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, and Georgia, and he conducted extensive field and museum research in China in the 1980s and 1990s. He has written more than 500 scientific contributions (about 25-percent are articles in peer-reviewed journals), three books, and has co-edited 14 books.

In 2007, some publications by Lucas and associates at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science came under scrutiny after allegations that information was improperly taken from the unpublished and in-press work of graduate students not on his team. Formal complaints were made to the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs regarding publications on a new genus of aetosaur (a type of armored prehistoric reptile from the Triassic), and a reinterpretation of another aetosaur's armor.[1] In July 2008, the Ethics Committee of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology concluded that the matter could not be resolved in favor of either side.[2]

In 2012, he co-authored a paper describing the world's smallest tetrapod footprints, found at Joggins, Nova Scotia.[3]

Lucas was a master-level chess player (New Mexico state champion in 1973 and 1974).[4] He gave up chess, for the most part, in the mid-1970s to focus on his academic career.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Nature News, "Fossil reptiles mired in controversy" Published online 30 January 2008
  2. ^ SVP news, "Executive committee's Final statement concerning allegations from..." Archived July 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Brian Switek, "Tiny Carboniferous Steps", Wired Blog, September 6, 2012
  4. ^ "New Mexico State Champions". New Mexico Chess Organization. Retrieved 27 October 2017. 

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