Dr. Robert T. Bakker’s lecture changes the way we see dinosaurs
Bakker put on an evening lecturing about the history of paleontology as well as his recent work at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. A reception followed the presentation in the College Center Atrium where Bakker sold and signed copies of his newest children’s book, “The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs.”
During the presentation Bakker spoke of the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Paleontology section and their crown jewel exhibit, Dinosaur Mummy CSI: Cretaceous Science Investigation. In the exhibit a triceratops skeleton is displayed with actual skin remaining on the specimen.
“A really neat thing about our triceratops in Houston is it has skin all over it, and the skin isn’t naked. It has big bristly things growing out of it. This isn’t the only plant-eater with feathers growing out of it ever found, there are several others.” Bakker told the crowd.
Bakker was one of the first paleontologists to theorize that dinosaurs had feathers, decades before such fossils were unearthed in China that proved his theory correct.
Bakker also theorizes that Tyrannosaurus Rex was not only a scavenger but a full blown hunting predator.
“When scientists speculate whether T-Rex was a scavenger or a hunter the answer is almost certainly: yes.” Bakker said comically.
Bakker wasn’t shy when it came to mentioning that he was also one of the many advisers to the Jurassic Park films directed by Steven Speilberg. In the films he was not only cited but also had a character based off of him, who in a slight “tip of the hat” to his theory regarding T-Rex, was subsequently eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the film, The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Throughout the lecture Bakker had many questions from children, always responding with “that is a great question!” and being very charismatic with his responses. Bakker has published many children’s books on dinosaurs and lead an activity Oct. 26 at SC4’s STEM conference where children drew dinosaurs and he told them facts about the dinosaurs they drew.
A strong proponent for education about paleontology, Bakker added some advice for budding paleontologists.
“Some people still think if you want to have a career in paleontology you have to have a beard, but if you want to become one and don’t have a beard or are of the female persuasion, come to our museum in Houston and we’ll give you a clip-on beard.”
Contact Nicholas at Nwedyke@gmail.com.