Ralph Stearley


  • Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
  • Completed a BA in anthropology at the University of Missouri, 1975
  • Earned an MS in geology from the University of Utah
  • Received his PhD in geology and paleontology from the University of Michigan, 1990


Current teaching

  • Introductory geology (Geol 151)
  • Historical Geology (Geol 152)
  • Discovery of Prehistory of Earth, Life and Humanity (Geol 230)
  • Oceanography (Geol 251)
  • Paleontology (Geol 313)
  • Sedimentation and Stratigraphy (Geol 317)
  • Big Sky Geology: Montana (Geol 153)

Professional experience

After graduating, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Illinois State Museum from 1991–1992. He taught for Wheaton College's field station in the Black Hills of South Dakota from 1994 to 1996. Over the years, he has taught courses in ichthyology, geology, and land resources for the Au Sable Institute for Environmental studies. He directed the excavation of the Ada Bible Church Mastodon in Cascade, Michigan.

Academic interests

  • paleontology
  • biogeography
  • history of geology
  • history of evolutionary thought
  • past and present research includes
    - studies of rock-boring marine invertebrates in the intertidal zone of the Gulf of California in Sonora, Mexico;
    - studies of Neogene fossil fishes from western North America.
    - anatomy and systematics of salmonid fishes;
    -analysis of fish remains from archaeological sites in New Mexico and west Michigan;
    - and assisting in developing a computerized database of Pleistocene mammalian fossil sites for North America
  • directed the excavation of the Ada Bible Church Mastodon in Cascade, Michigan


  • 2014. Stearley, R. F., and G. R. Smith. “Salmons, trout and char of the Miocene Chalk Hills and Pliocene Glenns Ferry Lakes on the Snake River Plain, Idaho and Oregon.” Abstracts of the Workshop on Late Cenozoic to Recent Geologic and Biotic History of the Snake River, March 24-26, Pocatello, Idaho.
  • 2013. Stearley, R. F. “The Cambrian explosion: how much bang for the buck?” Review essay, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 65 (4):245-257.
  • 2012. Stearley, R. F. “What I wish my pastor knew: about rocks, fossils, and the evidences for geologic time.” Chapter 11 in D. B. Haarsma and S. Hoezee, eds., Delight in Creation: Scientists Share their Work with the Church. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Center for Excellence in Preaching.
  • 2009. Stearley, R. F. "Assessing evidences for the evolution of human cognitive platform for "soulish behaviors". Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 61 (3):152-174.
  • 2008. Stearley, R. F. Book Review: The Age of Everything, by Matthew Hedman. Perspectives on Science and
    Christian Faith
    60 (3): 186-187.
  • 2008. Young, D. A., and R. F. Stearley. The Bible, Rocks and Time. Inter-Varsity Press, 510 pp., Calvin Funded
    project—Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship.
  • 2006. Stearley, R.F. Calvin College Paleontology Laboratory Manual, illustrated by Jody Brown. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Calvin College.
  • 2005. Bebej, Ryan and Stearley, R.F. "Deformation in the spine of the Ada Bible Church Mastodon" (abstract of presentation) Michigan Academician 36:62

In the news


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