Thursday, May 12, 2016

Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara — "Real-Life" Indiana Jones Discovers Dreadnoughtus!

Kenneth Lacovara: Hunting for dinosaurs showed me our place in the universe
[TED2016 · Filmed February 2016 · 15:49]

What happens when you discover a dinosaur? Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara details his unearthing of Dreadnoughtus — a 77-million-year-old sauropod that was as tall as a two-story house and as heavy as a jumbo jet — and considers how amazingly improbable it is that a tiny mammal living in the cracks of the dinosaur world could evolve into a sentient being capable of understanding these magnificent creatures. Join him in a celebration of the Earth's geological history and contemplate our place in deep time.

Dreadnoughtus schrani — a supermassive dinosaur approx. 85 ft. long and weighing roughly 65 tons; it is thee largest creature ever discovered w/ its ginormous skeleton found ~70% complete

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Kenneth Lacovara


In his quest to understand the largest dinosaurs to have walked the Earth, Lacovara blends exploration with the latest imaging and modeling techniques from engineering to medicine.

Why you should listen

Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara famously unearthed some of the largest dinosaurs ever to walk our planet, including the super-massive Dreadnoughtus, which at 65 tons weighs more than seven T.Rex.

Ken Lacovara is shown with 22 tail vertebrae (out of 32 collected) of the massive sauropod Dreadnoughtus schrani. The dinosaur has the largest calculable weight of any known land animal.
When he's not excavating fossils from far-flung locations, Lacovara works on the cutting edge of applying 21st-century technology to the study of dinosaurs. By using 3D imaging, 3D printing, robotics, and medical modeling techniques, his work is helping to shift our perspective of giant herbivorous dinosaurs from their historic portrayal as hapless lumbering prey to that of fearsome, hulking, hyper-efficient eating machines.

Lacovara led the effort to create the Rowan University Fossil Park in suburban Mantua Township, New Jersey. The quarry preserves a rich cache of marine fossils that Lacovara is using to shed light on the calamitous events that wiped out the dinosaurs. 

What others say

“Behind a Lowe's, scientists are methodically scraping and sifting through a quarry pit that may contain unique insights to the mass extinction that eliminated the dinosaurs...Lacovera calls the layer a 'mass death assemblage.' He believes it may be the only known collection of animal remains that dates from the mass extinction itself.” — New York Times, January 4, 2016 | TED Talks

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