Be it Nazis, religious artifacts, and whips, or scales, snarls, and beasts movies capture the imagination of audiences. They also direct attention to the fantastic (and fantastical) side of archaeology and paleontology. Nearly thirty years ago Indiana Jones inspired and infatuated audiences with archaeology and the field expended with public interest. In a similar way, interest was also increased in paleontology on the heels of the Jurassic Park franchise. This type of hype and attention does have its drawbacks. The realities of the work archaeologists and paleontologists do (i.e. glorified construction work, rough environmental conditions, and vagrant lifestyle at times) is overlooked or portrayed inaccurately for the sake of a good plot line. Joining us today is Dr. Mark Loewen, paleontology research associate at the University of Utah. He can speak to the awesomeness and pitfalls of Jurassic World and illuminate the realities the study of paleontology, a sister field of archaeology, faces.
Mark Loewen holds a M.Sc. in paleontology from Loma Linda University and a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Utah. He specializes in research on Jurassic and Cretaceous dinosaurs with an emphasis on the evolution and dispersal of meat eating, armored and horned dinosaurs; like Allosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Ankylosaurus and Triceratops. He is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah and teaches the popular World of Dinosaurs and Natural Disasters classes. He conducts research on dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum of Utah where he is a Resident Research Associate. He is also a research associate at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand.