There are many famous dinosaur fossil hunters over the past two hundred years that have taken a prestigious place in history as much as the dinosaurs they were hunting. These people are known as paleontologist who is a scientist that studies the forms of life that once roamed the Earth in former geological periods. Simply put they discover and study fossils. Over the years there have been, quite a collection of paleontologist, which have taken their place in history for their discoveries. Even today there are paleontologists that carry on the search. The majority of these still seek dinosaur fossils.
Reverend John Plot was the first person to discover a dinosaur bone in the 1600’s but not knowing what is was, he assumed it had belong to giants that once roamed the earth.
1911-1988, Luis Alverez who was a physicist, along with his son Walter, who was a geologist, were the first to think that the huge asteroid that hit the earth sixty five million years ago, was the cause of the extinction of the dinosaur. This theory is widely accepted today in the scientific field. Alvarez received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1968 for all his work on subatomic particles and when he presented his theory to explain the iridium anomaly of the K-T extinction boundary. He observed increased abundance of iridium in the strata at that time. It was just ten years later that highly convincing evidence was presented showing that the huge crater called the Chicxulub was in fact the origin of the smoking gun of the K-T boundary that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Roy C. Andrews
Roy C. Andrews was a fossil hunter and also director of the American museum of Natural History. Roy led four expeditions into the Mongolia Gobi desert. These expeditions took place between 1922 and 1925. These expeditions were important to the world of paleontology as they produced many important finds such as the Protoceratops bones and eggs( these were the first dinosaur eggs that were ever found), besides this great find, Roy added new dinosaurs such as the Oviraptor, Pinacosaurus, Saurornithoides and the Velociraptor. He also found evidence that Stone Age people lived in central Asia on the same expeditions.
Perhaps there is no other story of a fossil hunter quite like Mary Anning’s. Fossil hunting was not always confined to the male sector as we can see with Mary, who began as a child, searching for fossils. Mary was a British fossil hunter that supported herself and her family by finding and selling fossils. When Mary was just a child she narrowly missed getting hit by lightening and the story goes that she became much more intelligent after this. She learnt about fossils from her father, who was in the business of selling what was called “curiosities”, to tourist. This is how Mary got her start. She lived in Lyme Regis, England. She found the first fossilized Plesiosaur and the Ichthyosaurus. She also found the Pterodactyls, sharks and many other reptiles and fish. When she found the Ichthyosaurus it was embedded in rock. Mary found a crew of men to dig out the 30 foot long skeleton. It made Mary famous but it was not over for Mary. In 1823 Mary found the first complete Plesiosaurus. This reptile was nine feet long and had lived in the sea. This led to a new creation of a new genus. It will never be known for sure how many discoveries Mary made but the ones that really mattered did find their way to Museums.
Mary was a bit of an anomaly herself as she never had any formal education but she knew her fossils and discovered many new species. The paleontology field soon would sit up and take notice of this wonderful lady. Later in her life she was made Honorary Member of the Geological Society of London. The same year she was made an honorary member of the Dorset County Museum. In a church in Lyme Regis you can find a stained glass window placed there in Mary’s memory by the Geological Society of London, for her contributions to the exploration and findings of dinosaurs.
Robert Bakker revolutionized people’s concept of the dinosaur in the late 1960’s. He was a US paleontologist and dinosaur artist that led him to draw dinosaurs not as crawling land animals but as active, upright animals. Robert was a bit of a rebel, he also contended that dinosaurs are the ancestors of birds and not slow moving, slow witted creatures that most thought they were. This is still being debated. He wrote several books that brought out the ire of many paleontologists. He had several dinosaurs that he named such as Chassternbergia (1988), Denversaurus (1988) Drinker (1990), Edmarka (1992) and Nanotyrannus (1988) along with many others. He is well known in the world of Paleontologist.
Rinchen Barsbold is a Mongolian paleontologist. His numerous fossil discoveries have helped to reclaim Mongolian paleontology from the influence of colonially minded, early twentieth century European and American paleontologist. In his career , Barsbold has specialized in theropods, the two-legged creatures, carnivorous dinosaurs and especially ornithomimids, the bird-mimic that bear uncanny resemblance to modern Ostriches and Emus.
He has named a significant number of the known genuses of ornithomimids which include the Adasaurus in 1983, ansermimus in 1988, the Conchoraptor in 1986 and the Family Enigmosauridae in 1983. Rinchen went on to find many more finds along with others such as Enigmosaurus with A. Perle in 1983, Ingenia in 1981, the family Ingeniidae in 1986, the family Oviraptoridae in 1976 and the suborder Segnosauria with A. Perle in 1980. To honor Rinchen they named Barsboldia (Maryanska et Osmolska) in 1981.
Roland T. Bird
Roland T. Bird was an American fossil hunter who rode around the states looking for fossils on a Harley. There are rare occurrences of multiple skeletal remains have repeatedly been reinforced by dinosaur footprints as evidence of herding. He hunted fossils for American Museum of Natural history. His most notable find was the Glen Rose track way which is a set of 105 million year old fossil dinosaur footprints. He found these footprints along the Paluxy River in 1938. He was also involved in excavating the Howe Quarry in Wyoming that also produced many other dinosaur fossils.
Jose F. Bonaparte
Jose F. Bonaparte is an Argentinean paleontologist who found and named many South American dinosaurs. His contribution to the finding of dinosaurs is famous. He named such dinosaurs as the family Abelisauridae and Abelisaurus along with F. E Novas in 1985 which were followed by Alvarezsaurus along with Salgado in 1991, Andesaurus with Calvo in 1991. He named Mussaurus in 1979 with M. Vince, the clade Neoceratosauria in 1990 to 1991, the family Noasauridae and Noasaurus with J. E. Powell in 1980, Patogosaurus and Piatnitzkysaurus in 1979, Rayososaurus in 1996. He is noted for discovering the Argentinosaurus which is possible the biggest dinosaur that has ever lived.
All of these men contributed to the knowledge that we have today about animals that roamed our planet 65 million years ago. These men and women and many more has made history come alive in their findings, drawings and books. We owe them admiration and respect to let us have the privilege of being able to learn how our planet was so many years ago.