Science Cafe Raleigh - Dinosaurs!

Darn - I'll be out of town on that date, but you make sure to show up! The October meeting of Science Cafe Raleigh will be on the 23rd at my favourite Irish pub in Raleigh, Tir Na Nog, and the speaker is Dr. Mary Schweitzer, the NCSU researcher who discovered and analyzed soft tissues in fossilized bones of T.rex:

Dinosaurs: Rewriting the Rules of Fossilization

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

6:30-8:30 p.m. with discussion beginning at 7 p.m. followed by Q&A

Location: Tir Na Nog, 218 South Blount St., 833-7795

Speaker: Dr. Mary Schweitzer

Dr. Mary Schweitzer studies dinosaur bones, as many paleontologists do. But recently she has been rewriting the rules of fossilization with her research at the microscopic and molecular levels. Her most fascinating finds have included preserved soft tissues, such as collagen and what appear to be ancient blood vessels, inside a 68-million-year-old T. rex. Come discover how her research has confirmed many connections between dinosaurs and birds and astonished scientists who have long believed that soft tissues would never be found inside fossilized bone.

Mary Schweitzer is the Museum's Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology and an Associate Professor of Paleontology at NC State University. Her discovery of soft tissue inside a Tyrannosaurus rex thigh bone was named the 6th most important science story of 2005 by Discover magazine. She received a PhD in Biology and a Secondary Education Teaching Certificate from Montana State University, and a Bachelor's degree in Communicative Disorders from Utah State University.

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Drat, I'll be missing that one too (obviously). There's a lecture by Mike Novacek coming up at the AMNH that I'll be going to, but I'd really like to hear more about what's been coming out of the Hell Creek dinosaurs. I've heard a few comments before that all the Hell Creek bones "stink," so I'm wondering if there's something significant about that site that has preserved more organic material than elsewhere (the smell being that of decay when the bones come out of the ground).

Beyond the science, though, Schweitzer is a really nice scientist and was quite helpful when I sent her a message about her discoveries, so the attendees of the meeting will definitely be in for a treat.