LINCROFT, NJ - Dr. Ken Lacovara, the celebrated paleontologist from Drexel University, will discuss his excavations in New Jersey of prehistoric dinosaur fossils at 6 pm, April 27 at Brookdale Community College (BCC), Lincroft. The meeting, open to the public, includes members of the BCC Environmental Club, other students, and members of the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Sierra Group.
At his New Jersey dig in a marl pit in Mantua Township, Dr. Lacovara, a professor at the university, has been working with a team of student researchers, plus over a thousand volunteers, for about the last six years. Their excavation work has unearthed many fossils, including a 7-foot long prehistoric crocodile and a bus-sized predator. Mantua Township plans to purchase the tract and maintain it as a fossil park if funds become available.
Dr. Lacovara is also known for the discovery of the exceptionally complete specimen of the super-massive new sauropod dinosaur species, Dreadnoughtus schrani from southern Patagonia, Argentina. At 85 feet (26 m) long and weighing about 65 tons (59,300 kg) in life, Dreadnoughtus schrani is the largest land animal for which a body mass can be accurately calculated. Dr. Lacovara is also among the first wave of paleontologists to begin using modern 3-D scanning and 3-D printing methods in research.
Paleontologists have concluded that the mass extinction of dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period, 65 million years ago, allowed our mammalian ancestors, then little bigger in size than today’s rodents, to expand in population, species and size. This, in turn, eventually led to the evolution of homo sapiens – us.
Dr. Lacovara maintains that today’s birds are dinosaurs, and not just a species evolved from dinosaurs. The issue, though still debated by some paleontologists and taxonomists, increasingly suggests the chirping little critters are really dinosaurs, a caution we mammals should not ignore. Since the 17th Century, New Jersey’s marl pits were a consistent source of dinosaur remains until marl mining declined in the 20th century.
The presentation by Dr. Lacovara is hosted by Brookdale’s Environmental Club to encourage students to be involved in statewide and national debates on critical environmental issues. At the Lincroft meeting, a pizza and subs buffet begins at 6:00 p.m. and the presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.
To get to Brookdale’s Lincroft campus, take Parkway Exit 109 to Route 520 West (Newman Springs Road, which becomes E. Main Street at the Lincroft campus). Take the traffic circle into the campus and follow the signs to the Warner Student Life Center (SLC) and parking lot 7, where the meeting will be in the SLC Twin Lights Rooms 1 and 2. Use parking lot 7. As you walk eastward towards the building complex, Warner will be on your left. If lot 7 is full, use parking lots 5 or 6. A campus map is at http://www.brookdalecc.edu/PDFFiles/MAPS/MAP_04_08.pdf .