Lecture Series: Dinosaur Discoveries. “Dinosaurs Among Us”

Thursday, March 7, 2013 — 8:00 pm

Lecture Series: Dinosaur Discoveries. “Dinosaurs Among Us” 

Mark A. Norell, PhD, Chairman of Paleontology and Curator of Dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History, will retrace the steps of how scientists in the 1890s first pondered the idea that dinosaurs were closely related to birds, the hundred year debate that followed, and the systematic discovery of dinosaurs with bird like characteristics, including feathered dinosaurs.

Free to members; $5 at the door for non-members.

Reservations are strongly recommended; call the Museum at 203-869-0376 or email event date, your name and number of guests to info@brucemuseum.org.

Mark A. Norell was born July 26, 1957, in St. Paul, Minnesota.  He spent most of his formative years (1964 on) in Southern California.  He received a Bachelor of Science in 1980 from Long Beach State University and a Masters of Science from San Diego State University in 1983.  He received his Ph.D. in 1988 at Yale University (winning a John Spanger Nichols prize for best thesis).  After a year of post-doctoral training studying the molecular genetics in maize, Dr. Norell accepted a curatorial position at the American Museum of Natural History in New York where he is a Curator and Chair of the Division of Paleontology.  He also serves as an adjunct voting member of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

Dr. Norell’s research encompasses a number of different areas.  He has worked on theoretical topics relating to the study of diversity through time, the efficacy of the fossil record in capturing phylogenetic history, and how missing data can influence the estimation of phylogeny. 

Currently he is working on the relationships of small carnivorous dinosaurs to modern birds, naming new dinosaurs, deciphering growth patterns in dinosaurs, and attempting to develop new ways of looking at fossils using CT scans and imaging computers. 

His work has taken him across the globe.  Dr. Norell has been accompanying scientific expeditions since he was 14 years old and has taken part in over 50 international scientific expeditions.  He has worked actively in Patagonia, Cuba, the Chilean Andes, the Sahara, Laos, Thailand, China, West Africa and Mongolia.  The Mongolia project (now in its 22nd year) has received world-wide attention.  Career highlights include the discovery of the bizarre theropod Mononykus, the discovery of the richest Cretaceous fossil locality in the world Ukhaa Tolgod, the first embryo of a theropod dinosaur, the description of dinosaurs with feathers, and the first indication of a dinosaur nesting on a clutch of eggs like a bird. 

Dr. Norell has named several other dinosaurs including Shuvuuia, Apsaravis, Citipati, Byronosaurus, Huaxiagnathus, Shenzhousaurus, Tsaagan, Shanag, Erketu,  Sinovenator and Achillonychus. He has published over 150 scientific articles. 

His work regularly appears in major scientific journals (including cover stories in Science and Nature) and was listed by Time magazine as one of the ten most significant science stories of 1994 and 1996, and in 1993, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2002 as one of Discover magazine’s top 50 science stories of the year and Scientific Americans Top Science stories in 2001 and 2004.  A regular presence in the electronic and print media, Dr. Norell’s research was the subject of a NOVA program that appeared in the spring of 2008. 

In 1998, Dr. Norell was named a New York City Leader of the Year by the New York Times and in 2000 he was honored as a distinguished Alumnus of California State University Long Beach. 

Mark Norell resides in Manhattan.

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