Modern-day “Indiana Jones” and dino discoverer comes to OSU

Paul Sereno will speak at OSU on Oct. 4.

Noted paleontologist Paul Sereno will kick off the 2010-11 Horning Lecture Series at Oregon State University, exploring “The Historical Sciences,” on Monday, Oct. 4.

Sereno’s lecture begins at 7 p.m. in LaSells Stewart Center’s Austin Auditorium, 875 S.W. 26th St., on the OSU campus.

Having discovered more than two dozen new species of dinosaurs on five continents, Sereno has been called a modern-day Indiana Jones. His talk will explore his paleontology as an exciting blend of art, history and science wrapped in adventure.

Sereno studied dinosaur fossils in far-flung collections in China and Mongolia while he earned a Ph.D. in geology at Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Now on the faculty of the University  of Chicago, he teaches paleontology and evolution to graduate and undergraduate students and human anatomy to medical students.

In 1999, Sereno co-founded Project Exploration, a nonprofit outreach organization dedicated to bringing the excitement of scientific discovery to the public and providing innovative educational opportunities for children. Sereno is also one of National Geographic’s esteemed Explorers-in-Residence.

The leader of dozens of scientific expeditions, Sereno’s field work began in 1988 in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina, where his team discovered the first dinosaurs to roam the Earth – the predators Herrerasaurus and the primitive Eoraptor, the “dawn stealer.” These expeditions revealed the most complete picture yet of the dawn of the dinosaur era, about 225 million years ago.

In the early 1990s Sereno’s research shifted to the Sahara, and the search for Africa’s lost world of dinosaurs. Expeditions to Niger and Morocco resulted in Sereno’s team discovering and naming: Afrovenator, a new 27-foot-long meat-eater; skeletons of a 70-foot-long plant-eater he named Jobaria; a bizarre fish-eating dinosaur named Suchomimus, with huge claws and a sail on its back; and the 45-foot-long plant-eater Nigersaurus.

Sereno and his team also discovered the most fleet-footed meat-eater, the 30-foot-long Deltadromeus, and the skull of a huge, T. rex-sized meat-eater Carcharodontosaurus.

The author of books and stories in National Geographic and Natural History and subject of many documentaries, Sereno’s recognition includes Newsweek magazine’s Century Club (1997), People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People (1997), Esquire’s 100 Best People in the World (1997), Boston Museum of Science’s Walker Prize for extraordinary contributions in paleontology (1997), and Columbia University’s University Medal for Excellence (1999).

“The Historical Sciences” lecture series explores some of the sciences that look at the past to tell us about the present. Through the eyes of experts in paleontology, geology, ecology, archaeology, and evolutionary biology, new ways to see the past and the present will be found.
The four other lectures in the series are:

Geology: Mott Greene, University of Puget Sound, Thursday, Nov. 18, 4 p.m., Memorial Union, Room 109

Ecology: Eric Higgs and History and Ecology conference, Thursday and Friday, Feb. 3-4, Memorial Union, Journey Room

Archaeology: Deborah Pearsall, University of Missouri, Thursday, May 12, 4 p.m., Memorial Union, Journey Room

Evolutionary Biology: Stephen Stearns, Yale University, May 26, 4 p.m., Memorial Union, Room 109

The Horning Lecture Series is made possible through the support of the Horning Endowment in the Humanities. For more information, contact the History Department at 541-737-8560 or visit

Comments are closed.