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Kenneth Monsch

Dr. K.A. (Kenneth, Ken) Monsch, Research associate - Taxonomy and Systematics


Email: kenneth.monsch@naturalis.nl
Phone: +31 (0)71 56 87 674
Room number: D.01.45


Biology and palaeontology are amongst the most fascinating research areas that I know. I am excited to have been involved with this sicence ever since my student days. Although my career possibilities are wide open at the moment, I have been mostly involved with research and teaching in subjects such as palaeontology, zoology, ichthyology and systematics.


Youth. I was born in 1971 on the Caribbean Dutch island of Curacao. From an early age I was fascinated by the variety of tropical animals and by popular palaeontology books for kids. At age 16 I moved to the Netherlands.

Studies (1989-1995). I studied biology at Wagengen University UR, where I specialised in taxonomy and systematics. I did projects in entomological and botanical systematics. For the latter I had an internship in Burkina Faso (West-Africa), where I studied local Acacia trees. The results of this research were later published (see pulications, Monsch & Van der Maesen, 1994). My first major adventure in palaeontology came with an MSc thesis carried out at Groningen University. this concerned an inventory of the Miocene ichthyofauna of the Amazonia basin, South America (see list of publications, Monsch 1998).

PhD (1996-2000). The Phylogeny of the Scomboid Fishes, at the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Bristol. A preliminary cladistic analysis of mackerel-like fishes (Recent and fossil taxa combined), based on morphological characters.

Assistant Professorship (2001-2006). Department of Vertebrate Zoology (now closed), Instute of ZoologyUniversity of Wroclaw, Poland.

Honorary Researcher (2007-currently). Department of Geology, National Museum of Natural History Naturalis, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Professional Membership. Netherlands Institute of Bioscience (NIBI), the Dutch society of biology students, teachers, biologists and medical biologists.

Editorship. Handling editor of papers on palaeozoology of the World Journal of Zoology, an on-line publishing platform of Idosi, which publishes more on-line journals on a variety of subjects.


Research interest

Evolution of ray-finned fishes using the fossil record

I have mainly worked on scombroids (mackerel-likes) so far. I publish taxonomic and phylogenetic revisions of fossil species and am preparing a phylogenetic analysis of Recent and fossil taxa combined. I will incorporate molecular data into future analyses.

Theory, practice and philosophy of taxonomy and evolutionary biology

I intend to give much attention to the problem of missing data in phylogenetic analysis, mainly focusing on studies with fossil taxa.



Current research topics







Available student projects


Where there is no link for download, please send me an  for a copy of the paper or thesis. 


Monsch KA 2000 The Phylogeny of the Scombroid Fishes. Unpublishes PhD Thesis, University of Bristol. Vol 1. Text, Vol.2 Figures.


Fierstine HL, Bannikov AF, Monsch KA 2008 A new species of the extinct billfish genus Palaeorhynchus (Perciformes, Xiphioidei,Palaeorhynchidae) from the late early Eocene of Bolca in northern Italy. Miscellanea Paleontologica no 9, Studi e Richerche sui Giacimenti Terziari di Bolca (Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Verona) 12: 7-28.

Fierstine HL, Monsch KA 2002a Redescription and phylogenetic relationships of the family Blochiidae (Perciformes: Scombroidei), Middle Eocene, Monte Bolca, Italy. Miscellanea Paleontologica, Studi e Ricerche sui Giacimenti Terziari di Bolca (Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Verona) 9: 121-163.

Fierstine HL, Monsch KA 2002b Taxonomic and phylogenetic revision of the Blochiid fishes from the Eocene of Bolca (Italy). 7th European Workshop on Vertebrate Palaeontology, Sibiu, Romania. Abstact Volume and Excursion Field Guide, Ars Docendi Publishing House, University of Bucharest: 15.

Monsch KA 1998 Miocene fish faunas from the north-western Amazonia basin (Colombia, Peru, Brazil) with evidence for marine incursions. Palaeogeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 143: 31-50. 

Monsch KA 2000a A new fossil bonito (Sardini, Teleostei) from the Eocene of England and the Caucasus, and evolution of tail region characters of its Recent relatives. Paleontological Research 4: 75-80. 

Monsch KA 2000b The Phylogeny of the Scombroid Fishes. PhD Thesis, University of Bristol.

Monsch KA 2001 Remarkable morphological adaptations of Recent and fossil billfishes.Journal of Morphology 248: 263.

Monsch KA 2002 The use of palaeontological data in Recent biology In Dzik J (ed.) Fourth Course of Evolutionary Palaeobiology, University of Wroclaw: 12-14 [in Polish, also onwww.paleo.pan.pl/krasiejow/skrypt4.html#MONhttp://www.ewolucja.org/d3/d34-4a.html] .

Monsch KA 2003 The use of apomorphies in taxonomic defining. Taxon 52: 105-107.

Monsch KA 2004 Book Review: Tuna: Physiology, Ecology, and Evolution, Edited by BA Block and ED Stevens. Fish and Fisheries 5: 348. 

Monsch KA, Van der Maesen LJG 2004 Une étude taxonomique des Acacia (Mimosoideae) du Burkina Faso. Études de la Flore et la Végétation du Burkina Faso et des Pays Avoisinants 8: 3-18.

Monsch KA 2005a. Revision of the scombroid fishes from the Cenozoic of England.Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh-Earth Sciences 95: 445-489.

Monsch KA 2005b. Species are actual, not virtual. Taxon 54: 1036-1038.

Monsch KA 2006a. A revision of scombrid fishes (Scombroidei, Perciformes) from the Middle Eocene of Monte Bolca, Italy. Palaeontology 49: 873-888.

Monsch KA 2006b. The PhyloCode, or alternative nomenclature: why it is not beneficial to palaeontology, either. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 51: 521-524.

Monsch KA, Bannikov AF 2012 (for 2011). New taxonomic synopses and revision of scombroid fishes (Scombroidei, Perciformes), from the Cenozoic territories of the former USSR. Under review at: Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 102253–300. 

Monsch KA, Fierstine HL, Weems RE 2005. Taxonomic revision and stratigraphic provenance of †‘Histiophorus rotundus’ Woodward 1901 (Teleostei, Perciformes). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 25: 274-279.