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Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary
Women PaleontologistsWomen in HistoryA paleontologist is a scientist who studies paleontology, learning about the forms of life that existed in former geologic periods, chiefly by studying fossils.
Mary Anning (1799-1847) was an early British fossil hunter who began finding fossils as a child, and supported herself and her family by finding and selling fossils. She lived on the southern coast of England, in Lyme Regis. Anning found the first fossilized plesiosaur and Ichthyosaurus. She found many important fossils, including Pterodactylus, sharks, and many other reptiles and fish.
Karen Chin is a paleontologist and ichnologist (studying trace fossils - coprolites in particular). In 1998, Dr. Chin studied the first fossilized T. rex dung (coprolites) that contained bits of Triceratops frill. She has also found traces of dung beetle tunnels in another dinosaur coprolite. Chin received her Masters Degree from Montana State University (working with Jack Horner), and her Ph.D. from University of California, Santa Barbara (in 1996).
Sue Hendrickson (December 2, 1949 - ) is a self-taught fossil hunter (specializing in fossil inclusions in amber), marine archaeologist, adventurer and explorer. In South Dakota in 1990, Hendrickson found the remarkable T. rex fossil that is now known as Sue. This T. rex fossil is the largest and most complete T. rex found to date. Sue (the fossil) is now displayed at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Ruth Mason ( -1990) found a huge dinosaur fossils bone bed (a collection of thousands of fossils) on her family's Harding County, South Dakota, USA, ranch when she was 7 years old. Since then, tens of thousands of dinosaur fossils have been found at the "Ruth Mason Quarry," near Faith, SD. The dinosaurs include huge numbers of Edmontosaurus annectens ( duck-billed, plant-eating dinosaurs), T. rex teeth, and others.
Elizabeth (Betsy) L. Nicholls is a paleontologist and the Curator of Vertebrates at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Alberta, Canada. Dr. Nicholls studies Triassic period marine reptiles (especially Ichthyosaurs) from North America. Nicholls received her Ph.D. from the University of Calgary, Canada. Nicholls and Jack M. Callaway are the editors of the book, "Ancient Marine Reptiles," 1997. Nicholls has named the ichthyosaur genera Metashastasaurus (Nicholls and Makoto Manabe, 2001) and Parvinatator (Nicholls and Brinkman, 1995).
Dr. Patricia Vickers-Rich is an Australian geoloogist, paleontologist and author. Vickers-Rich has unearthed many important finds in Victoria, Australia, Alaska, USA, and Patagonia, South America. She co-named (with her husband T. H. Rich) the dinosaurs Leaellynasaura (1989) and Timimus(1994) (both named for his children), Atlascopcosaurus (1989), Qantassaurus (1999), Tehuelchesaurus (1999, also with Gimenez, Candúneo, Puerta, and Vacca), the important early Australian mammal Ausktribosphenos, and others.
Joan Wiffen is a self-trained amateur paleontologist who pioneered dinosaur hunting in New Zealand. Her discoveries, beginning in 1974, greatly changed scientists' views of New Zealands' paleontological history. Wiffen discovered fragmentary fossils of late Cretaceous period dinosaurs, including an ankylosaur (probably a nodosaur), a carnosaur, and a sauropod. These are the first dinosaurs found on New Zealand; it had been previously thought that no dinosaurs had lived on this long-isolated island. Wiffen's discoveries are from Mangahouanga, North Island, New Zealand. Joan Wiffen and her husband M. A. (Pont) Wiffen have also found mosasaurs (Mosasaurus flemingi, Prognathodon overtoni, Rikisaurus tehoensis, etc.), a plesiosaur (a plesiosaurid), a pterosaur, a protostegid (a large marine turtle), and many other fossils on New Zealand.
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