New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

Paleontologists Converge on Albuquerque on National Fossil Day with Keynote Address by Author Steve Brusatte

October 08, 2018


A world-class repository for fossils, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science’s latest exhibition Back to Bones: New Mexico’s Links to the Past featuring rarely seen specimens from the permanent collection is on display to greet the 78th annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Albuquerque Oct. 17-20, 2018.

The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) is an international organization of scientists and other people interested in the study of fossils of animals with backbones (see There are approximately 2,300 members. The society’s annual meeting is held in the autumn, usually at a major city that has, or is near, a natural history museum. SVP last held its annual meeting in Albuquerque in 1993 (25 years ago).

The SVP convention starts on 2018 National Fossil Day (NED), celebrated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on October 17, 2018 during Earth Science Week, October 14-20, 2018. National Fossil Day was established by the National Park Service (NPS) in response to the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act which requires federal land managing agencies to create programs that increase public awareness of the significance of paleontological resources.  This annual event supports the BLM Education, Interpretation, and Youth Engagement National Strategy by fostering a greater appreciation of the scientific and educational value of fossils.

There will be National Fossil Day exhibits at the museum on Wednesday Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., with exhibits by the New Mexico Friends of Paleontology, SVP, National Park Service, and US Bureau of Land Management– Prehistoric Trackways National Monument.

Dr. Stephen Brusatte, author of the book “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs” and the SVP’s keynote speaker, will give a free public lecture at the Museum the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.  Doors open at 6 p.m. and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis until the capacity of the DynaTheater is reached.

Brusatte is an American paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, who specializes in the anatomy and evolution of dinosaurs. He is on the faculty of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and grew up in the Midwestern USA. Brusatte has traveled the world digging up dinosaurs, working with many international colleagues, and has named more than 15 new species, including the tyrannosaur ’Pinocchio rex’ (Qianzhousaurus) and the raptor Zhenyuanlong. He has written several books for kids and adults, most notably the adult pop science book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs (2018), which was a New York Times bestseller in the USA, His work has appeared on several television shows, such as the National Geographic extravaganza T. rex Autopsy, where he was part of the team that dissected a scientifically accurate life-sized model of a T. rex.

A juried exhibition of paleoart Picturing the Past is also on display at the NMMNHS through Jan. 4, 2019. Paleoart is scientifically informed artwork that reconstructs ancient life and prehistoric environments. These artists literally draw from the fossil record for their inspiration, using their knowledge of anatomy, evolution and inference to create lifelike renderings of creatures that went extinct millions of years ago.

Media Resources:

Time lapse video of June 2018 paleontological dig Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area near Farmington, Video: Thomas Williamson

Looking Inside a Tyrannosaur’s Skull: LANL Video Link:

Additional information about the SVP meeting:

Downloadable preliminary program schedule. link to the circular

Link to featured images and more specimens going into the SVP Exhibit (

 About the SVP: Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Founded in 1940 by 34 paleontologists, the Society now has more than 2,300 members representing professionals, students, artists, preparators and others interested in vertebrate paleontology. It is organized exclusively for educational and scientific purposes, with the object of advancing the science of vertebrate paleontology.

 About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science: Established in 1986, the mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is to preserve and interpret the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The NMMNHS offers exhibitions, programs and workshops in Geoscience, including Paleontology and Mineralogy, Bioscience and Space Science. It is the Southwest’s largest repository for fossils and includes a Planetarium and a large format 3D DynaTheater. A division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the Museum is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. 1801 Mountain Road NW, northeast of Historic Old Town Plaza, Albuquerque, NM 87104, (505) 841-2800.  Events, news releases and images about activities at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science and other divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at





Related Photos

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs book jacket
2018 National Fossil Day poster
30-NMMNHS-Back to Bones - Forelimb of an early Paleocene mammal, Pantolambda, from the San Juan Basin, New Mexico, Courtesy of NM Museum of Natural History & Science.
30-NMMNHS-Back to Bones - Bisti Beast (Bistahieversor sealeyi) Skull, Courtesy of NM Museum of Natural History & Science.
30-NMMNHS- Back to Bones Miocene Gomphotherium skull being prepared, Courtesy of NM Museum of Natural History & Science.
30-NMMNHS-SVP logo

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