Dinosaurs of the Lost Continent

Thursday, March 10, 2016
7 PM

Free for all; Event full*

Kane Hall 130, UW Campus

Discover the ancient lost continent of Laramidia and the remarkable dinosaurs that lived there at a free public lecture with paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson—better known as “Dr. Scott the Paleontologist,” host of the hit PBS KIDS series, Dinosaur Train.


Illustration: Lukas Panzarin

Dr. Scott Sampson with fossil

Paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson with the skull of the horned dinosaur, Kosmoceratops, his favorite dinosaur.
Photo: Courtesy of Scott Sampson


Illustration: Raul Martin

Paleontologists in southern Utah, which was once part of the lost continent Laramidia

Paleontologists from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science out in the field in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, southern Utah. This area was once part of the lost continent of Laramidia.
Photo: Rick Wicker

Dinosaurs of the lost continent
For more than a century, paleontologists have been collecting abundant, often spectacular dinosaur fossils from the Western Interior of North America, with the bulk of these remains found in rocks dating to the final stages of the Cretaceous Period. Only recently have we learned that most of these dinosaurs—among them horned, duck-billed, dome-headed, and armored plant-eaters, as well as giant tyrannosaur meat-eaters and smaller “raptor-like” predators—existed on a “lost continent,” today referred to as “Laramidia."
About 96 million years ago, exceptionally high sea levels flooded central North America, resulting in a north-south oriented seaway extending from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. This shallow sea isolated life-forms on the eastern and western landmasses for most the next 26 million years. 
We know little of what happened on the eastern landmass, but its western counterpart, Laramidia, witnessed a tremendous florescence of dinosaurs and other Cretaceous life-forms. Surprisingly, despite the small size of Laramidia (less than one-quarter the size of present day North America) and giant sizes of many of the dinosaurs, different species co-existed in the northern and southern regions, at least during certain intervals. How were so many giant animals able to co-exist on such a diminutive landmass? Why were most of these dinosaurs adorned with bizarre bony features such as horns, crests, domes, or spikes? What lessons do these ancient fossils have for humans living on a warming planet?
Event Details
Find out more about this lost continent and its inhabitants as Scott Sampson—better known as “Dr. Scott the Paleontologist,” host of the hit PBS KIDS series, Dinosaur Train—addresses these questions and more during a free public lecture at the University of Washington's Kane Hall. A book signing will follow.
This is a research lecture and is recommended for ages 10 and up. The Burke Museum is hosting its annual Dino Day on Saturday, March 12, from 10 am – 4 pm, which is a great event for all ages including young dinosaur enthusiasts. Unfortunately, Dr. Scott will not be at Dino Day. 
*Pre-registration is full. There will likely be people who do not show, so please arrive by 6:30 pm to get in line for unclaimed seats. 
This event is generously sponsored by Nathan Myhrvold & Rosemarie Havranek.
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