Paleontologist Dr. Jack Horner told a packed crowd that science should be about taking risks and challenging norms at the Lowman Student Center theatre Tuesday.
Horner is one of the most renowned paleontologists in the United States and the technical advisor for all of the Jurassic Park films. He spoke to students, faculty, and other Huntsville citizens asking the question, “Where are all the baby dinosaurs?”
During the lecture Horner said people should throw out preconceived ideas.
“If you challenge preconceived ideas as a scientist, you’ll go far in science,” Horner said.
One of the preconceived ideas that Horner shared with the audience was that dinosaurs dragged their tales. He claimed that Joseph Lighty was responsible for this false idea. Because of that claim that turned out not to be true, museums even broke bones in dinosaurs’ tales in displays to make them appear to drag.
Horner also discussed his most famous discoveries as a paleontologist in Montana.
He made the first known discovery of baby dinosaur bones in the Western hemisphere.
“I went to a small town following a lead,” Horner said. “I stop in a rock shop and a lady is selling dinosaur eggs and baby dinosaur bones.”
In his search for eggs and baby dinosaurs he looked in many places all across Montana.
Horner is also credited with finding the first dinosaur embryo.
“Dinosaur eggs had been discovered 100 years before anyone decided to crack one open and see what was inside,” Horner said. “Museums wouldn’t let me touch their eggs, so, I found my own and did it myself.”
Horner is currently doing research on a real life Jurassic Park scenario. He is trying to find enough DNA to recreate a dinosaur. He started his search for dinosaur DNA around the same time the first film of the series premiered in 1993.
“I really enjoyed the movie,” Horner said. “I’m just glad I didn’t get eaten!”
Although many efforts have been unsuccessful, he is beginning to see that the real answer may lie in devolving a chicken a little bit at a time.