Dinosaur expert to be honoured with the 2019 Tam Dalyell Prize

A dinosaur expert at the University of Edinburgh who has travelled the world to further his knowledge of the ancient creatures has been chosen for this year’s Tam Dalyell Prize.

Dr Steve Brusatte.

Dr Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh, reader in vertebrate palaeontology, has been honoured by the university for excellence in engaging the public with science and for being an outstanding science communicator.

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The Tam Dalyell Prize Lecture will be held at the city’s Playfair Library at 6pm on Sunday 14 April as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival,

The lecture will introduce Dr Brusatte and his team’s research, including fieldwork and discoveries of new species of fossil animals.

Dr Brusatte, who specialises in the anatomy, genealogy, and evolution of dinosaurs and other fossil organisms, said dinosaurs were the ideal way to get children interested in science which could influence their future careers.

“Studying dinosaurs isn’t going to cure cancer or build more energy-efficient technologies, but it does give us a unique window on how real animals and ecosystems have responded to climate and environmental change during the long history of the Earth.

“And dinosaurs are a gateway – they get so many people enthused about science. So many doctors, engineers, drug designers, you name it – they got started in science as kids through their love of dinosaurs.”

Dr Brusatte has written more than 110 scientific papers, and published six books, including the adult popular science book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs.

The prize is named in honour of the late Tam Dalyell, Labour MP, an enthusiastic science communicator and weekly New Scientist columnist who was Rector of the university from 2003-6. He died in 2017.