Join us! Live Online Discussion with Paleontologist Pete Larson on June 17

June 8, 2010

Pete Larson in Archaeopteryx:
Icon of Evolution
at HMNS.

On Thursday, June 17, from 10 – 10:45 a.m., HMNS is hosting a live online discussion with paleontologist Pete Larson, president of the Black Hills Institute. Pete will be discussing his new research into the Thermopolis Archaeopteryx fossil that is currently on display at HMNS – and the astounding new discovery he and the team he worked with have made.

During this online event, you can ask Larson questions about his new research and learn more about our current Archaeopteryx: Icon of Evolution exhibition.

The Research
Click here to read an abstract of the paper; Brian Switek (@laelaps) has a good post on the content on the excellent Dinosaur Tracking blog. As Switek put it, “By using a kind of scanning technology called SRS-XRF, the scientists expected to detect the distribution of chemicals in the skeleton and the surrounding rock. This would allow them to get a better idea of how the skeleton became fossilized and what it may have looked like in life.” Read on at the links above for more information; get the inside scoop from Larson himself during the event on June 17.

The Event
This event will take place online from 10 – 10:45 Central Time on Thursday, June 17. Space is limited, so be sure to submit your registration today. To register: click here; once the registration page loads, click “Register” (a blue link on the left side of the page), then enter your information and click “Submit.” If you have any problems, please contact us at

Thermopolis specimen, on display in
Archaeopteryx: Icon of Evolution at HMNS

Can’t make the event? Never fear! You can submit your questions in the comments section of this post. Pete will answer in a post here following the event.


The Exhibit
Most scientists believe that birds evolved from small therapod dinosaurs. The key step was the development of feathers, turning animals that could walk or climb into animals that could fly. The first fossil discovered with feathers was found in 1861; just two years after Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution in 1859.

Archaeopteryx, which lived over 150 million years ago, is a classic example of an evolutionary link between two groups of animals. As of today, there are only ten known specimens of archaeopteryx. Archaeopteryx: Icon of Evolution presents some of the finest known fossils from the late Jurassic period showing life at the time of these first birds, including the Thermopolis specimen recently investigated by Larson et al. Many other stunningly well-preserved fossils from the world renowned quarries of Solnhofen, Germany, are featured.

Looking for a little more information before the event? Walk through the Archaeopteryx: Icon of Evolution exhibit with Pete Larson, and get his insights into the stunning fossils on display, in the video below.

Erin B
Authored By Erin B Blatzer

Erin is the Director of Business Development at HMNS. In a past life, she was a public relations and online marketing dynamo at HMNS.

6 responses to “Join us! Live Online Discussion with Paleontologist Pete Larson on June 17”

  1. Ian says:

    I have a question for Pete.

    What is your view on the origin of avian flight?

  2. Austin says:

    I had a question, as well. What would cause such rapid burial underwater?

  3. Stephen Clark says:

    With the great preservation of bones and some soft parts, what was the level of anoxia in the water column?

    What does the Archeopteryx fossil do for the “evolution of evolution”. i.e. the progression from Darwin’s theories of natural selection and evolution to modern evolutionary theory to future understanding, both paleo and contemporary?

  4. Natalie Markey says:

    In regards to the shark fossil, Hybotis (sp?) what would be a modern ancestor?

  5. Geneve says:

    When you first find these fossils are they of a different color and then change once they hit our oxygen air another wards does our oxygen change these fossil in anyway shape or form?

  6. Karen McCollam says:

    I just wanted to thank Pete for doing the presentation ( : There were some technical difficulties with the webinar, the video did not run for me, but I enjoyed the presentation and I appreciated Pete’s willingness to come and chat with the public. I will keep following the work on Archeopteryx. Best, Karen

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