Theodore Fremd

Theodore Fremd profile picture


Casual Bio

In early grade school, Ted was torn between being either a vertebrate paleontologist or a national park service naturalist, as at that time there was no way to do both.  He began his career at Colorado State University with emphasis on park service topics, but shifted to paleontology at the University of Alberta, lazily studying under his mentor, the great R. C. Fox.  To his surprise and delight, he was offered a position as the first paleontologist at Fossil Butte in Wyoming, an auspicious beginning of a thirty-year U.S. NPS career.   At Oregon’s John Day Fossil Beds, he was the catalyst and project manager for the acclaimed paleontological exhibits at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center.   He acquainted generations of workers with the complexities of the John Day basin through countless excursions, including the 2010 SVP Field Symposium.   Ted is the only paleontologist to ever become an NPS Regional Science Advisor which permitted him to visit parks from Joshua Tree to Wrangell-St. Elias, discovering new localities and significant fossils. 

Ted presently is a courtesy faculty member of the University of Oregon in the Department of Earth Sciences and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, and a annuitant/volunteer with the U. S. National Park Service..  He has published and coauthored many papers and technical reports in the peer-reviewed and popular literature.  There are currently five species named in his honour. 



Research Interests

Disciplinary expertise:  Vertebrate paleontology, biostratigraphy, taphonomy, paleoecology, evolutionary theory, curation of natural history specimens, and management of paleontological resources on public lands.


Science liaison capacity:

Co-Convenor (with Dan Chure, DINO) the FIRST CONFERENCE ON FOSSIL RESOURCES, 22-26 September, 1986.  Althought the initial emphasis was on National Park Service lands, this meeting spawned numerous subsequent meetings and was the first such gathering of professional paleontologists and public land managers concerning paleontological resources on public lands.  


Developed unprecedented Cooperative and/or Interagency Agreements between the NPS and U. S. Bureau of Land Management (four districts), U. S. Forest Service (three National Forests in Oregon and Washington), U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon State Parks, The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs,  The Natural Conservancy, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, varied private lands with significant fossil resources.

Science Advisor, Pacific West Region, U. S. National Park Service, ~ten years.  Consulted an many different and challenging science-based resource management issues for 60+ different national parks and monuments, throughout the West Region and Hawaii.  Reported, with other advisors, directly to the Regional Director and, later, Director of the USNPS.

Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (Government Laiason Committee), AAAS, Geological Society of America, Paleontological Society, etc. 


NPS Natural History Collections ad hoc committee, Chair, NPS Collections (Paleontology) Significance Group,  past member NPS Museum Management Program Council.  Performed World Heritage Assessment, Ipolytarnoc National Park, Hungary.  Currently a Courtesy Faculty member, University of Oregon, Department of Geological Sciences, Eugene, OR

Strategic resource management approaches:

Relevance of evolutionary paleoecology in conservation of recent biotas; preservation and curation of paleontological resources. 

Recent activities include (Open File reports available):  Paleontological Surveys and Science Advisory Reports for:  Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska,  Lava Beds National Monument, Joshua Tree National Monument, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Tule Springs National Monument (latter report indirectly led to establishment of area as a unit of the NPS), and other sites.  Team member of  Petrified Forest Paleontological Resource Planning, Hagerman Fossil Beds, etc.  COR and Leader, Thomas Condon Paleontology Center design and planning team.



Honors and other Ego-boosters




AWARDS & HONORS (partial)


Regional “Excellence in Environmental Resources Management" Award Winner, 1989.

Special Achievement Award, $800, 1983

Special Achievement Award, $500, 1986

Special Sustained Achievement Award, $1000, 1987.

Special Achievement Award, $1000, 1988

Quality Step Increase Award, 1990.

Outstanding Performance Award, 1991.

Sustained Superior Performance Award, 1992

Sustained Superior Performance Award, 1993.

Sustained Superior Performance Award, 1994.

Regional Director’s Award;

NPS Research Scientist of the Year, 2002

Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Morris Skinner Prize, 2017


taxa named in Honor:

Micromomys fremdi Fox, 1984. 

Rubus fremdi Meyer, 1995.

Achaenodon fremdi, Lucas, Foss, and Mihlbacher, 2004

Plesiosminthus fremdi Korth and Samuels, 2015

Fremdohyus sp.  Prothero, 2016

Fremdoxylon sp.  Wheeler, in prep



SVP Profile (out of date)


Analytical Focus (Some selected publications: this list is incomplete):

Albright, L. B. III, M. O. Woodburne, Theodore Fremd and others.  (2008).  Revised  Chronostratigraphy and Biostratigraphy of the John Day Formation (Turtle Cove and Kimberly Members), Oregon, with Implications for Updated Calibration of the Arikareean North American Land Mammal Age.  Journal of Geology, volume 116, p. 211-237.

Bestland, E. A., G. J. Retallack and T. Fremd (1994). Sequence stratigraphy of the Eocene-Oligocene transition: examples from the non-marine volcanically influenced John Day Basin. Field Trip Guidebook of the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America: 19 pages.

Bestland, E. A., Retallack, G. J., and Fremd, T., 1999, Geology of the Late Eocene Clarno Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Central Oregon: National Park Service, Paleontological Research Volume 2, Santucci, V. L., editor, National Park Service Technical Report NPS/NRPO/NRTR-93/11, p. 111-124.

Bestland, E.A., Forbes, M.S., Krull, E.S., Retallack, G.J., and Fremd, T.   2009.  Stratigraphy, paleopedology, and geochemistry of the middle Miocene Mascall Formation (type area, central Oregon, USA).  Paleobios 28(2) 34pp.

Bryant, H. N. and T. J. Fremd (2001). The evolutionary history of the Nimravidae (Carnivora) in the John Day Basin of Oregon.  PaleoBios 21: 2: 35-36.

Coombs, M. C., Robert M. Hunt, Jr., Ellen Stepleton, L. Barry Albright III, and Theodore J. Fremd (2001). Stratigraphy, Chronology, Biogeography, and Taxonomy of Early Miocene Small Chalicotheres in North America. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 21(3): 607-620.

Dunn, R., T. Fremd, and others.  (2007) Paleontological Parks and Global Change.  Proceedings of the 2007 George Wright Society Conference • 238-243.

Foss, S. E. and T. Fremd (1998). A Survey of the Species of Entelodonts (Mammalia, Artiodactyla) of the John Day Basin, Oregon. Dakoterra 5: 63-72.

Foss, S. E. and T. J. Fremd. 2001. Biostratigraphy of the Entelodontidae (Mammalia: Artiodactyla) from the John Day Basin, Oregon.  Paleobios 21: 53.

Fremd, Theodore J.  2010.  Guidebook to the 2010 SVP Field Symposium and John Day Basin Field Conference.  Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Guidebook Publications, 149 pages.

Fremd, T. (1999). Places of Discovery: Paleontology, Research,  and Natural Areas. IN: Harmon, D., Ed. Proc. 10th. Conf. on Research and Res. Man. In Parks. 130-137.

Fremd, T. (1995). Cyclic Prospecting to Preserve Vertebrate Paleontological Resources. San Bernardino County Museum Association Quarterly 4(2): 19-25.

Fremd, T. J. (2001). Paleontology data and NPS collections: unbounded resources, or, between managers and scientists. Crossing boundaries in park management: Proceedings of the 11th Conference on Research and Resource Management in Parks and on Public Lands. D. Harmon. Hancock, Michigan, The George Wright Society: 342-348.

Fremd, T. J. and X. Wang (1995). Resolving Blurred Faunas: Biostratigraphy in John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. NPS Paleontological Research., Technical Report NPS/NRPO/NRTR-95/16. V. Santucci and L. McClelland: 73-76.

Fremd, T. J., E. A. Bestland and G. J. Retallack (1994).  John Day Basin Field Trip Guide and Road Log.  1994 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meetings, Northwest Interpretive Association. 80 pp.

Fremd, T. (1996). Fruits and Seeds of the Middle Eocene Nut Beds Flora, Clarno Formation, Oregon Oregon Geology 58(3): 70-71.

Fremd, Ted. (1997).  Cooperative Management of “Our Fossil Heritage”: An Example from the John Day Basin.  IN:  Johnston, M. and J. McChristal, eds.  Partners in Paleontology.  NPS/NRFLFO/NRR-97/01

Fremd, T. (1992). "Time in the Blue Mountains." Natural Resource News 2(4): 7-10.

Fremd, T. J.  2001.  Appraising the significance of complex assemblages and data defragmentation: an example from the volcaniclastics of eastern Oregon.  PaleoBios 21: 54-55.

Fremd, T. J. and D. P. Whistler.  (2009).  Preliminary Description of a New Microvertebrate Assemblage from the Arikareean (Early Miocene) John Day Formation, Central Oregon.  In Albright, L. B. III, ed.  Papers on Geology, Vertebrate Paleontology, and Biostratigraphy in Honor of Michael O. Woodburne.  Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin 65, Flagstaff, Arizona.  Pp. 159-170.

Hanson, D. A.  and T. J. Fremd.  2007.  A John Day Stepchild – the Southern Basin Faunal Assemblages.  PaleoBios 21(2):62

Kohn, Matthew J. and Theodore Fremd.  2007.  Tectonic controls on isotope compositions and species diversification, John Day Basin, central Oregon.  PaleoBios 27(2):48–61

Kohn, Matthew J. and Theodore J. Fremd  (2008).  Miocene tectonics and climate forcing of biodiversity, western United States.  Geology 36(10):  783-786.

Kohn, M. J., Miselis, J. L., and T. J. Fremd. (2002). Oxygen isotope evidence for progressive uplift of the Cascade Range, Oregon. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 204 (2002): 151-165.

Lander, E. B. and T. J. Fremd.  2001.  Late Whitneyan, Arikareean, and earliest Hemingfordian oreodonts (Mammalia: Artiodactyla: Agriochoeridae and Oreodontidae) from the John Day Formation of Central Oregon.  PaleoBios 21: 82.

Martin, J. E. and T. J. Fremd.  2001.  Revision of the Lithostratigraphy of the Hemphillian Rattlesnake Units of Central Oregon.  PaleoBios 21: 89.

Retallack, G. J. and T. J. Fremd (1996). "Reconstructions of Eocene and Oligocene plants and animals of central Oregon." Oregon Geology 58(3): 51-69.

Retallack, G. J., Bestland, E. A., and T. J. Fremd. (2000).  Eocene and Oligocene paleosols of central Oregon.  Geological Society of America Special Paper 344:  192 pages.

Retallack, G. J., Wynn, J. G., and T. J. Fremd.  2004.  Glacial-interglacial-scale paleoclimatic change without large ice sheets in the Oligocene of central Oregon.  Geology: April 2004; v. 32 no. 4: p. 297-300.

Samuels, J. X., Albright, L. B., and T. J. Fremd.  2015.  The Last Fossil Primate in North America, New Material of the Enigmatic Ekgmowechashala from the Arikareean of Oregon.  Amer. Jour. Phys. Anthro.  158: 43-54

Smith, M. E., Fremd, T. J., and R. C. Wood.  2001.  Discovery of a cranium of Stylemys (Reptilia: Chelonia) from the Turtle Cove Member of the John Day Formation, Central Oregon.  PaleoBios 21: 117-118.

Convenor and Editor, John Day Basin Paleontology Symposium, North American Paleontological Convention, U. C. Berkeley, 2001.  Invited all speakers, moderated session, edited proceedings papers.

In addition to the above, numerous manuscripts concerning taxonomy, biostratigraphy, and other topics are available and/or searchable online.

Additional Publications (Partial)

1987. Paleontology Narrative.In: Hyra, Ron and Neola Knowles, Eds., 1987 Annual Science Report, National Park Service, Pacific Northwest Region, 30

with Chure, Daniel J. 1987.  Protecting Fossil Resources in the National Park System.Natural Areas Journal., Vol. 7, No. 4, pp.  194-196.

1988.  Assemblages of Fossil Vertebrates in Pre‑Ignimbrite Deposits of the Turtle Cove Member, John Day Formation (Arikareean), from Outcrops within the Sheep Rock Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology  8(3) , 15A

1989. Paleontological Monitoring. In: Hyra, Ron. Ed., 1988 Annual Science Report, National Park Service, Pacific Northwest Region, 30.

1989. Taphonomy and Paleoecology of the Turtle Cove Member of the John Day Formation. In: Hyra, Ron. Ed., 1988 Annual Science Report, National Park Service, Pacific Northwest Region , 29

1991.  Searching for Treasures at John Day Fossil Beds. IN: Fox, Lissa.  Highlights of Natural Resources Management. Natural Resources Report NPS/NRPO/NRR‑91‑03 , 25

1991. Early Miocene Mammalian Populations from Turtle Cove, Oregon.  Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 11(3) , 29A

1992. Cyclic Prospecting and Salvaging Fossils. In: Benton, R. and Ann Elder, Eds.,  Proceedings on the Third  Conference on Fossil Resources, Natural Resources Report NPS/NRFOBU/NRR‑94‑14 , 65‑68

1992.  Cooperative Management of Paleontological Resources in the John Day Basin, Central Oregon. Seventh Conference on Research and Resource Management, George Wright Society , 24

1992.  Paleontological Resource Management, NPS‑77, and Its Practical Applications.  In: Benton, R. and Ann Elder, Eds.,  Proceedings on the Third  Conference on Fossil Resources, Natural Resources Report NPS/NRFOBU/NRR‑94‑14 , 61‑64

1992.  Cooperative Agreements and Administration of Vertebrate Fossil Localities. Third Conference on Fossils in the NPS, Program with abstracts, 20

1992.  "I've Seen the Miocene" in Central Oregon.  Park Science Vol. 12, Number 3 , 12‑13

1992.  Time in the Blue Mountains. Natural Resource News, Vol. 2, No. 4 , 7‑10

with Bestland, Erick., and Retallack, Gregory.  1992.  Cut‑and‑Fill Episodes in the John Day Formation in the Painted Hills Area of Central Oregon.  Abstracts of the 88th Annual Meeting of the Cordilleran Setion of the Geological Society of America, Eugene, v. 24, P.7

with Retallack, Gregory J. and Bestland, Erick A. 1993.  Reassessment of the Age of Fossil Localities in the Clarno Formation, Hancock Field Station, Wheeler County, Oregon.  Proceddeings of the Oregon Academy of Sciences Meeting, Linfield, v.  29, p.34

1993.  Early Miocene Mammalian Populations from Turtle Cove, Oregon  .IN: Santucci, Vincent L., Editor.  National Park Service Paleontological Research Abstract Volume. Technical Report NPS/NRPEFO/NRTR‑93/11 , 79

1993.  Refinement of Spatial and Temporal Distributions of Biotas Within the Volcaniclastic Sequences of the John Day Basin. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 13(3), 36(A)

with Bestland, Erick A.,  Retallack, Gregory J.,  and Swisher, Carl C. III. 1993.  Timing of Cut‑and‑Fill Sequences in the John Day Formation (Eocene‑Oligocene), Painted Hills Area, Central Oregon.  Abstracts of the 89th Annual Meeting of the Cordilleran Section of the Geological Society of America, Reno, v.25, p.9.

with Bestland, E.A. and G. J.  Retallack, G.J. 1994. Sequence stratigraphy of the Eocene‑Oligocene transition: examples from the non‑marine volcanically influenced John Day Basin.  Geol.  Soc.  Am.  Ann.  Mtg. Field Trip Guidebook , pp. 1-20

with Wang, Xiaoming. 1994.  Biostratigraphy of Canidae (Carnivora) from Turtle Cove Member of John Day Formation.  J. Vertebr. Paleontol., Vol. 14, Supplement to No. 3., Abstracts of Papers., Fifty‑Fourth Annual Meeting., Society of Vertebrate Paleontology., Burke Museum, University of Washington., Seattle, Washington , 51A

with Bestland, E.A., and G. J.  Retallack, G.J. 1994. Geology of the late Eocene Clarno Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Central Oregon.  Technical Monographs of the National Park Service, 1‑9, proceedings of the National Park Service Paleontological Research Symposium, Durango, CO,  GSA Rocky Mtn. Section

Fremd, T. J. and Zancanella, J.  1994. Cooperative Management of "Our Fossil Heritage": an example from the John Day Basin. Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Fossil Resources, 7 pp.

Brayant, Harold N. and Ted J. Fremd.  1998.  Revised biostratigraphy of the Nimravidae from the John Day Basin of Oregon.  Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 18 (3 Suppl):  30A

with Bestland, E.A.,  Retallack, G.J.,  and C.C. Swisher.  1994.  Geology and age assessment of late Eocene fossil localities in the Clarno unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, central Oregon.  Abstracts of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Rocky Mountain Section of the Geological Society of America, Vol. 26, p.4.

with Retallack, Gregory J.,  Bestland, Erick A.,  and Carl Swisher. 1994.  Reassessment of the Age of Oligocene Fossil Localities in The Painted Hills of Oregon.  Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Oregon Academy of Sciences, Corvallis, v.30, p.32.

Fremd, Ted, Bestland, E. B., and G. Retallack, 1994 Guide and Road Log to the 1994 SVP Field Trip to the John Day Basin.  JDNM-94-1, 60 pp.

with  Xiaoming Wang, 1994.  Characterization of Lithosympatric Assemblages: An Example from Volcaniclastics in the John Day Basin.  Abstracts of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Rocky Mountain Section of the Geological Society of America, Vol. 26, p.13.

1995.  Cyclic Prospecting to Preserve Vertebrate Paleontological Resources.  SBCMA Quarterly, 42(3): 19-27.

with Xiaoming Wang, 1995.  Resolving Blurred Faunas: Biostratigraphy in John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.  Technical Report NPS/NRPO/NRTR-95/16.  pp.  73-77.

with Racine, Laurel and others, 2009.  A Work in Progress:  Development of United States National Park Service Museum Collection Significance Evaluation Criteria.  Collections Vol. 5, Number 1, pp. 7-60

Fremd, Ted.  2014.  Preventing Geological Book Burning.  Palaeontologia Electronica Vol 17, Issue 1: 1R:3p;

Fremd, Theodore, Dunn, Regan, and Joshua Samuels.  In prep.  From Dawn Redwoods to Sunset Dogs: The Fossil Record of Oregon’s John Day Basin.  Indiana Press (contract signed), ~400 pp.