Lawrence Witmer is an Americanpaleontologist. He is a Professor of Anatomy and a Chang Ying-Chien Professor of Paleontology at the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Ohio University. Witmer is considered to be one of the world's foremost experts on soft-tissue anatomy of the skull in extinct animals such as dinosaurs and pterosaurs. One of Witmer's largest contributions to vertebrate paleontology was the creation of the Extant Phylogenetic Bracket approach to ancestral character state reconstruction. This methodology incorporates extensive comparative anatomy using physical and digital dissections of extant animals. Data from extant animals are used to determine osteological correlates for soft tissues. These correlates are then used to reconstruct the functional anatomy of extinct animals.
^Witmer, L.M. 1995.The Extant Phylogenetic Bracket and the Importance of Reconstructing Soft Tissues in Fossils. in Thomason, J.J. (ed). Functional Morphology in Vertebrate Paleontology. New York. Cambridge University Press. pp: 19–33.