"Jurassic Park" dinosaur expert to visit Historical Museum
Steven Spielberg's technical adviser will speak,
sign books and introduce movie as part of
dinosaur exhibit exhibit to close Feb. 25

For immediate release March 22, 2007


Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

(DES MOINES) – Jack Horner, the world-renowned paleontologist who inspired the lead character and was technical adviser for “Jurassic Park,” will speak, sign books and introduce the movie at the State Historical Museum next week.

Horner’s appearance March 30-31 is in conjunction with the museum’s “Movies at the Museum” film series and “Hatching the Past: The Great Dinosaur Egg Hunt,” an exhibit that explores the life of dinosaurs through their eggs, nests and embryos. The State Historical Museum is at 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines’ Historic East Village. Free parking is available in the ramp at Grand and Penn avenues.

Horner will speak about dinosaur growth and behavior and sign copies of his sixth book, Digging Up Dinosaurs, March 30 at 7 p.m., and March 31 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at www.iowatix.com or at the door.

“Jurassic Park” will be screened March 31 at 4 p.m. at the museum with a special introduction by Horner. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at www.iowatix.com or at the door. Beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks will be available during the movie.

Based on a novel by Michael Crichton and directed by Steven Spielberg, “Jurassic Park” takes place on a remote island where a wealthy entrepreneur secretly creates a theme park featuring living dinosaurs drawn from prehistoric DNA. When the park’s security system breaks down, the prehistoric creatures break out and the excitement builds to surprising details. Actor Sam Neill plays Dr. Alan Grant, the character inspired by Horner. The movie also stars Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough and Samuel L. Jackson. It received three Academy Awards in 1994.

Horner, curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., and a Montana State University regents’ professor of paleontology, was born in 1946. He discovered his first dinosaur fossil at age eight, the first dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere and the world’s largest Tyrannosaurus rex. Estimated to have once weighed between 10 and 13 tons, it is substantially larger than Tyrannosaurus Sue and has produced many new theories on the ways these creatures lived.

Due to his struggles with dyslexia, Horner does not hold a formal college degree. In 1986, however, he received an honorary doctorate of science from the University of Montana and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (dubbed by the media as a “genius grant”).

Today, his research covers a wide range of topics about dinosaurs, including their behavior, physiology, ecology and evolution. He has written more than 50 professional papers, 25 popular articles, authored or co-authored six popular books, co-edited one technical book, named several new dinosaurs and has had two dinosaurs named after him – Achelosaurus horneri and Anasazisaurus horneri.

“Hatching the Past,” open through May 6, takes a rare and “egg”-citing look at the life of dinosaurs through their eggs, nests and embryos in this new exhibit, which includes hands-on activities and an astounding array of authentic dinosaur eggs and nests collected from all over the globe – including those in each of the major plant- and meat-eating dinosaur groups. Admission is $5; children 12 and younger receive free admission thanks to the support and underwriting of Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Members of the State Historical Society of Iowa receive free admission.

The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and is a trustee of Iowa’s historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa’s past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa’s historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


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