Headlining the two-day dino event is multi-award-winning British palaeontologist, celebrated author and TV host, Dr Dean Lomax from the UK. Lomax, who is an affiliated scientist at The University of Manchester , England, recently made international headlines when he led the excavation of one of the greatest discoveries in British palaeontological history, the 10-metre-long ’Rutland Sea Dragon’.
The event will also feature a sneak peek of ’WHY DINOSAURS’’ an ambitious dinosaur-themed documentary directed, filmed and edited by Tony and James Pinto, a father and son from Simi Valley, California. Over five years in the making, the film has been greatly anticipated since its announcement and successful crowdfunding campaign.
Based in the town of Thermopolis, the Wyoming Dinosaur Center originally opened its doors in 1995 and boasts a world-class museum and many active dinosaur dig sites. Unique fossils such as ’Jimbo’ the Supersaurus , the largest dinosaur in Wyoming, along with the smallest dinosaur in Wyoming, ’Lori’, a close cousin of Velociraptor , are on display along with an impressive global fossil collection and the only Archaeopteryx fossil outside of Europe.
Lomax will be returning to Wyoming after first visiting in 2008, then just an 18-year-old teenager straight out of high school. Growing up in the town of Doncaster, England, Lomax did not have the grades or finances to initially go to university and even failed science in high school. When the Wyoming Dinosaur Center offered Dean the chance of a lifetime to volunteer and follow his dreams, he jumped at this opportunity and even sold his possessions (including his childhood Star Wars collection!) to fund the trip.
Now, 15 years later, Lomax is a renowned expert on ichthyosaurs who has discovered and named multiple new species, written best-selling books and hosted TV shows. His unconventional journey into science began in Wyoming and highlights the importance of following your passion and never giving up on your dreams. "I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the opportunity I was given to come to Wyoming and volunteer at the WDC in 2008. The WDC provided me with the vital experience I needed to get my foot on the ladder and work out how to make it in such a competitive field."
I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the opportunity I was given to come to Wyoming and volunteer at the WDC in 2008. The WDC provided me with the vital experience I needed to get my foot on the ladder and work out how to make it in such a competitive field.
The University of Manchester academic will deliver several talks showcasing his research, including naming an ichthyosaur after Mary Anning and co-describing the Velociraptor -like dinosaur from the Wyoming Dinosaur Center collections, Hesperornithoides , and his work on the infamous ’Rutland Sea Dragon’. He is eager to return to Wyoming and share his passion for palaeontology with the public.
"We are proud to have launched Dr Dean Lomax’s career and to have him come back to Wyoming and share his story, which will no doubt inspire many people. The Wyoming Dinosaur Center is committed to teaching the importance of palaeontology and every year we see the impact we have on individuals and families by providing exciting, personal educational experiences to both adults and young people. Jurassic Fest will provide an opportunity to listen and learn from renowned fossil experts and get your hands dirty." Added Angie Guyon, the WDC’s director.
Highlighting Wyoming’s rich dinosaur history, father and son team, Tony and James Pinto will be showcasing their upcoming international documentary, "WHY DINOSAURS?"
For Tony and James, this is a thrilling opportunity to finally reveal some of their hard work right in the heart of dinosaur country: "Some really important moments in the movie were filmed right here, so we’re grateful to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center for rolling out the red carpet for us yet again", added Tony. Wyoming and the museum feature heavily in the movie which will be shown as part of a special screening at the local auditorium.
Jurassic Fest will provide dinosaur fans of all ages the opportunity to dig up dinosaurs with Dr Lomax, hunt for new dinosaur sites, and explore the fossil-rich formations that surround the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. The WDC has active dinosaur dig sites just 10 minutes from the museum, where bones of famous dinosaurs like Allosaurus and long-necked giants like Diplodocus Brontosaurus are excavated.
Alongside the special digging and dino-hunting opportunities, Jurassic Fest will also offer special behind-the-scenes tours of some of the amazing fossils at the museum, provide an opportunity to clean dinosaur bones and speak to leading scientists. A stellar line-up of exciting speakers will also be sharing their passion for the past, each with a strong connection to the WDC, including Jimmy Waldron of the hit podcast ’ Dinosaurs Will Always Be Awesome ’, author of ’ Passion in the Bones ’ Elaine Howard from Florida, Dr Laura Vietti from the University of Wyoming and Dr Brandon Drake from the University of New Mexico.
Jimmy Waldron is a former WDC volunteer who operates DWABA, inc., a non-profit mobile museum that brings real and replica dinosaur fossils to low-income communities. The Orlando-based organization presents, as Waldron says: "unique experiences with heart, accessibly engaging science, and a life-sized robot dinosaur named Poe". Jimmy has featured on the popular show ’ Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend ’, and will share the incredible impact the Wyoming Dinosaur Center creates for paleoentrepreneurs!
Angie Guyon hopes that Jurassic Fest will deliver an educational, fun, and inspiring two-day event that will highlight the fascinating work of palaeontologists and science communicators which will help to capture the global importance of Wyoming’s prehistoric history. "The variety of hands-on activities will provide the public with an opportunity to gain first-hand experience, listen to a series of inspirational lectures and discover more about the research and excavation of local dinosaur finds from the Morrison Formation. This is not to be missed."
The two-day dino extravaganza will take place on June 23-24, 2023. Tickets and more information can be found at the following address: www.jurassicfest.org