Ever since I was a kid there have been a few paleontologists that I have looked up to including, LUIS ALVAREZ, MARY ANNING (The mother of Paleontology), PAUL SERENO, PATRICIA VICKERS-RICH, PETER LARSON, PHILL CURRY and coming in at a very close second on my list, ROBERT T. BAKKER. All who have done outstanding things for the field of paleontology and science in a whole.
At the top of my list is Paleontologist JACK HORNER who discovered and named Maiasaura, providing the first clear evidence that some dinosaurs cared for their young. He is one of the best-known paleontologists in the World. In addition to his many paleontological discoveries, Horner served as the technical advisor for all of the Jurassic Park films. Where he served as partial inspiration for one of the lead characters, Dr. Alan Grant.
Horner has published more than 100 professional papers and nine popular books including the book, "How to build a dinosaur." The book touches on the subject of changing proteins in animals in the embryonic stage to to bring back dinosaur like features in a chicken. By turning off and on proteins they can activate traits like teeth, arms with claws and a long tail. Now for anyone in the sciences, it is a good read and very interesting. Horner explains the many procedures taken reactivate these dinosaur like traits in detail. I cannot wait to see if this process is ever completed.
Horner is also one of the lead paleontologists on a topic of the changing body and skull shape of dinosaurs from juveniles to adults. If Horner is correct, and it is leaning that direction, he will have eliminated 1/3 of the dinosaur species we know about. Meaning what we thought was three different species might have just been one species growing and changing through out their lives. But ill touch more on that subject in another post. One of the last things I will mention is how amazing Horner is with children. He as well as the rest of the world knows that the love for dinosaurs starts at a very young age. Horner is able to educate and have fun with kids of all ages. Every paleontologist has a little kid still living in them. That's one of the reasons they are in the field to begin with. They never lost that love.
This post is written to honor and thank Paleontologist Jack Horner for all that he has done and all that he continues to do for Paleontology.
Lastly, a couple years ago I made a photo based on the cover of Horner's book, "How to build a dinosaur" and sent it to him asking him to sign it for me. Not only did he respond to my email thanking me for my interest but he signed the image and posed for a picture with it. That image is now on my wall and will continue to be for many years to come. Its now one of my conversation pieces.
Thank you Jack Horner!
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