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Lecturer To Unearth Distinguished Work April 2

March 18, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Jack HornerDinosaurs may be creatures of the past, but Jack Horner, Regents Professor of Paleontology at Montana State University, has made a career of proving “extinction doesn’t have to be forever.”

The internationally acclaimed paleontologist, known for his dinosaur-related discoveries and as the inspiration for Alan Grant in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, will share his thoughts on his career and the work he does on April 2 during Sam Houston State University’s Distinguished Lecturer Series.

His presentation, “Where are the Baby Dinosaurs?,” will begin at 11 a.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater.

“If you have seen the movie Jurassic Park, then you have, in effect, been exposed to Dr. Jack Horner’s most famous insights about dinosaurs,” said John Newbold, associate professor of marketing and chair of the Distinguished Lecturer Series committee. “Dr. Horner is best known for his work related to how dinosaurs grow, all the way from embryos to adults. Among his more groundbreaking findings are that dinosaurs were sociable, built nests, and cared for their young.

“As a speaker, Dr. Horner is very down-to-earth and, often, downright humorous,” Newbold said. “He explains things in a way that is very easy for the layman to absorb. His talk will entertain and enlighten you.”

Horner’s work with paleontology, which has spanned approximately 38 years, has led to his discovery of the first dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere. He also is credited with uncovering the first evidence of dinosaur colonial nesting, the first evidence of parental care among dinosaurs, and the first dinosaur embryos.

He has named several new species of dinosaurs, including Maiasaura, the “good mother reptile,” and two dinosaur species have been named after him. In addition, he discovered the largest remains of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Hell Creek Formation near Jordan, estimated to weigh more than 10 tons.

Horner served as the inspiration for the lead paleontologist in Crichton's Jurassic Park, portrayed by Sam Neill, and he served as the technical adviser in Stephen Spielberg’s 1993 film adaptation of the book, Spielberg’s 1997 sequel The Lost World, and Jurassic Park III, released in 2001. He was also technical adviser for the FOX television show “Terra Nova.”

Horner is currently the curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., a senior adjunct scientist at the Smithsonian Institution and directs the largest dinosaur field-research program in the world.

Born and raised in Shelby, Mont., Horner attended the University of Montana, where he majored in geology and zoology but struggled with dyslexia.

Due to the developmental disorder, he was unable to complete his formal college degree, but the University of Montana awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Science in 1986. That year, he also was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.

Throughout his career—which began as a research assistant at the Museum of Natural History at Princeton University, where he worked from 1975-1982—Horner has published more than 180 professional papers, 100 popular articles, authored or co-authored nine popular books, and co-edited one technical book.

His book Digging Dinosaurs was described by New Scientist Magazine as one of the 200 most important science books of the 20th century. Among his other more recently published books are How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to be Forever, in 2009, and Digging Up Dinosaurs, in 2007.

His research covers a wide range of topics about dinosaurs, including their behavior, physiology, ecology and evolution, and his work has been featured in numerous magazines and television specials.

On April 5, in honor of the movie’s 20th anniversary, Universal Pictures will release a remastered Jurassic Park in 3D, RealD and IMAX 3D.

The SHSU Faculty Distinguished Lecturer Series has included such noteworthy figures as former President George Bush, Larry McMurtry, Liz Carpenter, Lech Walesa, Charlie Wilson, and many others.

The presentation is free and open to the public.



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