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Monthly Lecture - Matthew Lamanna

  • Wednesday, February 27, 2019
  • 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
  • First Unitarian, 605 Morewood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
  • 8


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Welcome to PFC's monthly lecture night!

In keeping with our February tradition, we always try to schedule a speaker and topic related to evolution in honor of Darwin's birthday, This month's program follows that tradition and should also be a real treat for attendees. Not only does our topic feature the ever-popular subject of dinosaurs, but our presenter is a bit of a luminary in the field of paleontology.

The topic is the evolutionary origins of modern birds and how those origins relate to dinosaurs and the fossil record. Not only that, but our presenter is part of the team that discovered the fossils that show this link.

Matthew Lamanna is a paleontologist and the principal dinosaur researcher at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which houses one of the world’s largest dinosaur collections. Lamanna received his PhD in 2004 and his MS in 1999 from the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Earth and Environmental Science. His research focuses on dinosaurs, birds, and crocodilians that lived during the Cretaceous Period—the third and final time period of the Mesozoic Era, or Age of Dinosaurs.

Within the past 18 years, Lamanna has directed or co-directed field expeditions to Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, China, Egypt, and Greenland that have resulted in the discovery of multiple new species of dinosaurs and other Cretaceous-aged animals. Lamanna and his colleagues’ most significant finds include the gigantic new titanosaurian sauropods (long-necked plant-eating dinosaurs) Dreadnoughtus, Notocolossus, and Paralititan. He also led the study of the bizarre, bird-like dinosaur Anzu wyliei, also known as the “Chicken from Hell,” and co-discovered dozens of beautifully preserved fossils of the 120-million-year-old bird Gansus yumenensis in China. Most recently, Lamanna and colleagues named Sarmientosaurus, a new titanosaurian sauropod that is represented by the best preserved skull ever discovered for any of the more than 70 known species of this dinosaur group.

Lamanna served as lead scientific advisor for Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s $36 million Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibition, in which the museum’s historic Dinosaur Hall was expanded and updated based on current scientific understanding of dinosaur biology and Mesozoic biodiversity. The exhibition is home to the nation’s third largest display of mounted original dinosaur skeletons.

Lamanna has also co-advised dinosaur exhibitions for other institutions, including the Miami Science Museum and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He has lent his expertise to a wide variety of print and broadcast media, including PBS, ABC, CNN, BBC, Discovery Channel, A&E, History Channel, Science Channel, Fox News, National Public Radio, Random House, Dorling Kindersley, HarperCollins, Facts on File, Treasure Bay, The New York Times, and Science.

Each month (with the exception of August and December) we feature a presentation/lecture on a variety of topics. Our primary focus is on science, but we also have talks on skepticism and humanism and beyond. We try to structure the meetings to begin with a presentation that leaves time for great discussions and Q&A sessions afterward. We try to post the topic and speaker bio as soon as that information is known -- please check back soon. If you have speaker suggestions and/or ideas that are in keeping with our mission, please feel free to email your suggestions to info@pittsburghfreethoughtcommunity.com.

See you there!

P.S. We usually head to Ali Baba's on nearby Craig Street at 5:30 p.m. for a pre-lecture dinner, often with the speaker. Please leave a comment below if you are coming to dinner so we can include you in the reservation. Thanks!

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