Geoscience Research Institute

Raúl Esperante

Doctor in Paleontology, Research Scientist

research interests

My interest relate to the history of sedimentary basins and the fossils within the rocks. I am currently studying the sedimentary layers of the Pisco Basin in southern Peru where a thick sequence of strata was deposited in a mostly shallow marine environment with an almost complete record of the Eocene through the Pliocene. The sedimentary rocks contain a rich record of marine mammals (baleen whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions), sharks, fish, and invertebrates. Also I am interested in understanding the fossilization processes that lead to preservation of fossils. In collaboration with other researchers, I am studying the stratigraphy, sedimentology, ichnology and the fossil content of the layers to understand how the basin developed through time and how fossils formed in the rocks.

research keywords

Pisco Formation, Pisco Basin, Fossil Whales, Paleontology, Taphonomy, Fossilization, Baleen, Ichnology, Fossil Marine Mammals, fossil cetaceans, whale fossils


Doctorate in Paleontology: Loma Linda University, California Bachelors in Biology: Universidad de Valencia, Spain


Muñiz, F., Esperante, R., Poma, O., 2011. La icnoespecie Gyrolithes vidali Mayoral 1986 en el Mioceno superior de la formación Pisco (Ica, Perú): Implicaciones paleoambientales. Paleontologia i Evolució Memòria especial 5, 263-267. Esperante, R., Muñiz Guinea, F., Nick, K.E., 2009. Taphonomy of a Mysticeti whale in the Lower Pliocene Huelva Sands Formation (Southern Spain). Geologica Acta 7, 489-505. Esperante, R., Brand, L., Nick, K.E., Poma, O., Urbina, M., 2008. Exceptional occurrence of fossil baleen in shallow marine sediments of the Neogene Pisco Formation, southern Peru. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 257, 344-360. Muñiz, F., Esperante, R., Gibert, J.M.d., Mayoral, E., Santos, A., Berbel, J., 2007. Bioerosión de anélidos osteófagos (Siboglinidae) en el Plioceno Inferior de Almería (SE de España), in: Braga, J.C., Checa, A., Company, M. (Eds.), XXIII Jornadas de la Sociedad Española de Paleontología. Instituto Geológico y Minero, Caravaca de la Cruz, Murcia, pp. 159-160. Esperante, R., 2006. Exceptional occurrence of fossil baleen in the Miocene/Pliocene Pisco Formation, Peru, Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, p. 64. Brand, L., Urbina, M., Carvajal, C., DeVries, T., Esperante, R., 2006. A contribution to the stratigraphy of the Miocene/Pliocene Pisco Formation, Peru. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26, Supplement, 45. Esperante, R., 2005. How not to become a fossil --Taphonomy of modern whale falls, in: Martinell, J., Domènech, R., de Gibert, J.M. (Eds.), 2nd International Meeting TAPHOS'05. Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, pp. 103-104. Santisteban, C.d., Esperante, R., 2005. Estructura de un cauce encajado (Incised Valley), en materiales de la Formación Calizas, areniscas y arcillas de Villar del Arzobispo, Cuenca Ibérica Suroccidental, Valencia. Geo-Temas 8, 109-112. Esperante, R., Brand, L., 2003. Higher diatom deposition implied from taphonomic features of fossil marine mammals, Miocene/Pliocene Pisco Formation, Peru, AGU Chapman Conference on The role of diatom production and Si flux and burial in the regulation of global cycles. AGU, Paroikia, Paros, Greece, pp. 55-56. Esperante, R., Brand, L.R., Chadwick, A., Poma, O., 2002. Taphonomy of fossil whales in the diatomaceous sediments of the Miocene/Pliocene Pisco Formation, Peru, in: De Renzi, M., Pardo Alonso, M.V., Belinchón, M., Peñalver, E., Montoya, P., Márquez-Aliaga, A. (Eds.), Current Topics on Taphonomy. Ayuntamiento de Valencia, Valencia, pp. 337-343. Esperante, R., Brand, L.R., 2002. Preservation of baleen whales in tuffaceous and diatomaceous deposits of the Pisco Fm, southern Peru, in: Brock, G.A., Talent, J.A. (Eds.), First International Palaeontological Congress (IPC2002). Geological Society of Australia, Sydney, Australia, p. 51.

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