Arts & Entertainment

“Dinosaur Tracks and Other Clues to Dinosaur Extinction” at Livingston Library

September 11, 2013 at 11:53 AM

“Dinosaur Tracks and other Clues to Dinosaur Extinction” will be presented at the Livingston Public Library on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

Come and listen to Dr. Paul E. Olsen, a renowned paleontologist and former Livingston resident, describe his 1968 discovery of dinosaur fossils in Riker Hill Park. When Olsen was 14, he and a friend heard that dinosaur footprints had been discovered in a stone quarry on the Livingston-Roseland border. In the years that followed, Olsen and his friend found thousands of fossils and dinosaur footprints. They wanted to prevent the site from being developed and began lobbying to make the quarry a protected park.  He even started a letter-writing campaign to President Richard Nixon and sent Nixon a dinosaur footprint cast from the site. The quarry was divided and the most fossil-rich portion was preserved and donated to Essex County Park Commission. Olsen succeeded in getting the Riker Hill Fossil Site being named a National Natural Landmark in June 1971. The rest of the quarry was later developed into the Nob Hill apartment complex.

He appeared in Life magazine in 1970 went on to become a leading paleontologist, publishing papers on the Riker Hill discoveries as an undergraduate at Yale, where he received a doctorate in biology in 1984.

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Dr. Olsen is a leading expert in the dinosaur fossils of New Jersey and the region's geology back to 200 million years ago.  He is now a Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, and also works at the University’s Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory.  In addition, he is a Research Associate at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, the American Museum of Natural History and the Virginia Natural History Museum.

This program is free and recommended for ages 10 and over. It is sponsored by the Friends of the Livingston Public Library.

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