College of Science and Health > Faculty & Staff > Faculty A-Z > Kenshu Shimada

Kenshu Shimada

Research Interests
Shimada is interested in the evolution of marine ecosystems over geologic time, particularly by examining the paleobiology of sharks and other marine vertebrates that lived during the ‘age of dinosaurs’ (Mesozoic). While he studies a variety of organisms in the context of paleoecology, his specialty is in a group of sharks called lamniforms that have been ecologically important in past and present oceans as they include top predators (e.g., mako and great white sharks) and large plankton feeders (e.g., basking and megamouth sharks). Shimada enjoys demonstrating the relationships of morphology in such aquatic vertebrates to their life history strategies, behavior, ecology, and evolution.
Classes Taught
  • Introduction to Paleobiology (Bio 122)
  • General Biology II (Bio 192)
  • Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (Bio 270)
  • Topics in Paleobiology (Bio 345/445)
  • Environmental Geology with Lab (Env 115)
  • Geology of the Environment (Env 116)
  • The Earth through Time with Lab (Env 117)
  • The Earth through Time (Env 118)
  • Biology for Environmental Studies (Env 205)
  • Animal Diversity (Env 305/425)
  • Natural History in Chicago (ISP 102: Explore Chicago)

Select Publications
Shimada, K., Y. Yamaoka, Y. Kurihara, Y. Takakuwa, H. M. Maisch IV, M. A. Becker, R. A. Eagle, and M. L. Griffiths. 2023. Tessellated calcified cartilage and placoid scales of the Neogene megatooth shark, Otodus megalodon (Lamniformes: Otodontidae), offer new insights into its biology and the evolution of regional endothermy and gigantism in the otodontid clade. Historical Biology. DOI: 10.1080/08912963.2023.2211597.

Griffiths, L. M., R. A. Eagle, S. L. Kim, R. Flores, M. A. Becker, H. M. Maisch IV, R. B. Trayler, R. L. Chan, J. McCormack, A. A. Akhtara, A. K. Tripatib, and K. Shimada. 2023. Endothermic physiology of extinct megatooth sharks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2218153120.​

Allen, J. G., and K. Shimada. 2022. Fossil vertebrates from a unique marine bonebed of the Upper Cretaceous Smoky Hill Chalk, western Kansas, U.S.A.: new insights into the paleoecology of the Niobrara Formation. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2021.2066999.​

Sternes, P. C., and K. Shimada. 2020. Body forms in sharks (Chondrichthyes: Elasmobranchii), and their functional, ecological, and evolutionary implications. Zoology 140:125799. DOI: 10.1016/j.zool.2020.125799​.

Stone, N. R., and K. Shimada. 2019. Skeletal anatomy of the bigeye sandtiger shark, Odontaspis noronhai (Lamniformes: Odontaspididae), and its implications for lamniform phylogeny, taxonomy, and conservation biology. Copeia, 107(4):632–652. DOI: 10.1643/CG-18-160.​

Professional Activities
  • Chair of Government Affairs Committee, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 
  • Research Associate in Paleontology, Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays. Kansas 
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Fossil Research (Fossil Research Society of Japan)

Professional Society Memberships
  • American Elasmobranch Society
  • American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
  • Fossil Research Society of Japan
  • Kansas Academy of Science
  • Paleontological Society
  • Society of Vertebrate Paleontology