Taxonomy term

thea boodhoo

"Greening" stormwater in Philadelphia

When environmental geologist David Wilcots joined Sci-Tek Consultants in 2014, he became involved with the Philadelphia Water Department’s Green Stormwater Infrastructure project. Sci-Tek’s goal was to redesign certain areas of the city’s urban landscape so that “less stormwater goes into the sewage system” and more goes into the ground, explains Wilcots. 

29 May 2018

Down to Earth With: Geologist and paleontologist David Wilcots

When David Wilcots was 4 years old, his parents took him to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City where he encountered his first giant dinosaur skeleton: a roughly 27-meter-long sauropod named Apatosaurus (though at the time it was still popularly known as Brontosaurus). “That just blew my mind,” he remembers. His passion for paleontology grew, branching from dinosaurs into early mammals, and led him to major in geology at Temple University in Philadelphia. In 1988, he earned a master’s in geology at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. But then, things didn’t go as planned. “When I got out of grad school, I looked for jobs in paleo, but couldn’t find any,” he recalls. “Environmental geology was the next best thing.” He began consulting with business and government agencies, and as time went on, his second choice of career grew on him.

29 May 2018

Down to Earth With: Paleontologist Ali Nabavizadeh

A perfect day in the life of paleontologist Ali Nabavizadeh wouldn’t be complete without a fresh corpse. The subjects of his work at the dissection table range from a rhinoceros, to an elephant head, to the human cadavers essential to the anatomy classes he teaches at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden, N.J. The only thing that could possibly top a fresh corpse, in fact, is an extremely old one.

20 Dec 2017

Down to Earth With: Paleontologist Lisa D. White

As a college student at San Francisco State University, Lisa D. White’s first choice of major was photography. She was drawn to landscapes, and dreamed of becoming “the black female Ansel Adams,” she tells me, surrounded by fossils. We’re in a lab at the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) in Berkeley, where she is assistant director of Education and Public Programs. She is also a micropaleontologist, and from 1990 until joining UCMP in 2012, she was professor of geology and later associate dean at San Francisco State University.

01 Sep 2017

Saving Mongolia's dinosaurs and inspiring the next generation of paleontologists

Paleontologist Bolortsetseg Minjin and her team are bringing dinosaurs home to the children of rural Mongolia any way they can: via fossil repatriation, workshops, new permanent museums and even a roving museum.

15 Feb 2017

The Dinosaur Garden of the Gobi: Motivating future paleontologists

In June 2016, the tourism board of Dalanzadgad, a small city in the Mongolian Gobi, opened a new dinosaur theme park on the outskirts of town. It was paid for with a government grant awarded before the 2016 economic downturn. The night we arrived in town, our Gobi team was given a tour by two of the project’s biggest advocates.

15 Feb 2017

Saving Mongolian wildlife, 80 million years after extinction

In the time of Velociraptor, 80 million years ago, southern Mongolia looked surprisingly like the Gobi Desert that exists there today. Animals roamed, nested and fought amid an arid climate while sand-soaked winds battered rocky outcrops. Today, walking along the Flaming Cliffs of Bayanzag, you may only notice one stark difference: Where Velociraptor and other dinosaurs once thrived, there are now only a few fossilized remains. And even those are endangered. Because of this, a small team of scientists, hired staff and volunteers is heading to Mongolia this fall to try to save them. 

27 Jun 2016

California's big trees dying of thirst

From the days of John Muir’s treks through the valleys and peaks of the Sierra Nevada, California’s majestic forests have attracted nature lovers from around the world. Since Muir’s death in 1914, though, dramatic changes have taken hold. Across the state’s forests, small trees are more common while large trees have declined in number, and oaks seem to be taking over where pines once ruled. A new study cites drought due to warming as a major driving force behind these changes.

29 May 2015