Randy Irmis receives Fulbright Scholar Award

How we look at fossils,” says paleontologist Randy Irmis in a 2016 interview, is the most exciting thing happening in his field today. “There are a lot of new ways to look at fossils rather than just observing the bones themselves. We have lots of new imaging techniques for looking inside bones or skulls and doing three dimensional work.”

The Chief Curator and Curator of Paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Utah, and Associate Professor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics, Irmis recently received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award.  He was one of two University of Utah professors to receive the honor, the second being Michael Yu, a member of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Irmis, who as a Fulbright will be associated with the Instituto Argentino de Nivologia Glaciolgia y Ciencias Ambientales in Mendoza, Argentina, has a whole lot more to say about dinosaurs, including molecular work in the field “looking at the composition of the bones and sometimes feathers or hair that was preserved. We’re learning a whole bunch of new things just by the way that we can image these fossils using very advanced techniques that we never would have dreamed of even ten years ago.”

In Argentina, Irmis will develop and teach a new field-based course on methods and approaches to interrogating the geologic record on how terrestrial ecosystems changed in relation to climate in deep time and collaborate with Argentine colleagues on a large-scale research project to understand how Triassic non-marine ecosystems in northwestern Argentina changed in relation to the regional and global environment between 250-215 million years ago.

Read the full story about both Fulbright awardees in @TheU.