Dino-mite paleontologist to come to campus

By Shasta Webb

If you’ve ever seen Jurassic Park, ever taken biology professor Kristi Curry-Rogers’ Dinosaurs class, or ever owned one of those nifty Eye-Witness picture books about dinosaurs, then October 30 is your lucky day. On Oct. 30, from 6:30-8:00 P.M. renowned dinosaur paleontologist Jack Horner will speak in the Kagin Ballroom. Horner has a unique connection to the Macalester campus. For Curry-Rogers, and her husband Geology professor Ray Rogers, Horner “played a formative role” in their scientific careers. Well-known researcher, science advisor to Steven Spielberg in Jurassic Park, and the inspiration for the character of Allen Grant in the classic films, Horner is, according to Rogers, “the face of dinosaur paleontology. If you talk to anyone who’s even remotely interested in dinosaurs, his name is most likely to come up.” Horner’s research has been vast in scope, but his talk at Mac, entitled “How to Build a Dinosaur,The New Science of Reverse Evolution” will focus on his newest book, Digging Dinosaurs. “Horner is one of the key players in what we call the Dinosaur Renaissance, which is the time in last 20 years or so when the perspective we had on dinosaurs went from thinking of them as cold-blooded, big, slow, dim-witted reptiles to being these really active and agile creatures that we now associate with the connection to modern birds,” explained Curry-Rogers, who first met Horner at age 16 when she set out on her first field study. But what about thoseof us with no experience in the dinosaur realm? “Horner’s a curious person. He formed his career very independently and so he has a unique perspective on science. He talks about ways of doing science that are very understandable for everyone,” said Curry-Rogers. His connection to Hollywood and his presence in, according to Rogers, “every dinosaur documentary made in the last few years,” makes Horner an accesible academic figure. “This is a rare opportunity. He’s a sought-after speaker, and gives talks all around the world,” explained Rogers. “Plus he’s owes us one. He once had to sleep in our basement when that blizzard a couple of years ago grounded all flights out of Minneapolis.” “We’re really lucky he’s coming to talk at Macalester,” said Curry-Rogers. Find out more by visiting www.events.macalester.edu/event.cfm?id=17620. Admission is free and the event is open to students, staff, faculty, and the community. refresh –>