Rod Wells

Professor Emeritus
Rod Wells, AM

For more than 50 years Rod has pursued his passion for natural history with a particular interest in Australia’s living and extinct native mammals, the monotremes and the marsupials.

His ground-breaking research into the physiology and behaviour of Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats led to the development of the Brookfield Wombat Reserve (now Brookfield Conservation Park) and its research station for the study of arid zone ecology. He continues to teach on undergraduate field courses at Brookfield as part of Flinders’ Biodiversity & Conservation degree .

Rod’s discovery of the extensive fossil deposits of Australian mammals, birds and reptiles at the Naracoorte Caves in 1969, and its World Heritage listing in 1994, was instrumental in the development of Vertebrate Palaeontology at Flinders University. His research, and that of his students and successors, into the evolution of the marsupials has now extended across much of South Australia from the fossil deposits in the caves and swamps of the coastal margins to the arid interior of the Lake Eyre and Lake Frome Basins, a period spanning more than 25 million years.

At the beginning of his ninth decade Rod is currently completing accounts of both the Plio-Pleistocene stratigraphy and palaeontology of the Lake Eyre Basin as well as the Pleistocene alluvial fan deposits of the Mt. Lofty and Flinders Ranges. All of these projects are in collaboration with colleagues at Flinders University, particularly Dr. Aaron Camens. Rod maintains a strong interest in the biomechanics and skeletal anatomy of the extinct Australian megafauna, and contributes to teaching in the Vertebrate Palaeontology degree.  Rod also continues his interest in wombat research in collaboration with researchers at the University of Adelaide.