Rowan University Paleontologist Wins Prestigious Nautilus Book Award

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Kenneth Lacovara, Ph.D., founding dean of the School of Earth & Environment at Rowan University, and founding director of the University’s Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park, has been awarded a Silver Nautilus Book Award for his book Why Dinosaurs Matter (2017, Simon & Schuster/TED Books).

The prestigious Nautilus honors titles that “inspire and connect our lives as individuals, communities, and global citizens while also valuing spiritual growth, conscious living and green values, and positive social change.”

Considered by the nation’s top publishers as a major book award, past winners include the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, Prince Charles, Desmond Tutu, and Barbara Kingsolver.

In his topical book, which won in the ecology and environment category, Lacovara offers both a reminder and a warning that humans’ “place on earth is both precarious and potentially fleeting, and that as we move into an uncertain environmental future, it has never been more important to understand the deep past.”

“I’m thrilled to be recognized with the Nautilus Award and have been gratified by the tremendous response from readers and the many kind reviews,” said Lacovara.

“I wrote Why Dinosaurs Matter to show that the past can, and must, be our guide to the future. We have so much to learn from it. The dinosaurs died in the world’s fifth mass extinction. Now, we humans are propagating the next great calamity, but, unlike the dinosaurs, we can see it coming, and we can do something about it.”

Lacovara is renowned for his discovery of one of the largest creatures to ever walk the earth, Dreadnoughtus schrani, which at 65 tons weighed more than seven T. rex.

At the Edelman Fossil Park, Lacovara and his research team have uncovered scientifically significant Cretaceous-age fossils, hypothesizing that the animals were part of a mass extinction linked to the asteroid impact that ended the reign of the dinosaurs.

In the lab, Lacovara and his team apply cutting-edge technology to the study of dinosaurs by using 3D imaging, 3D printing, robotics, and medical modeling techniques.

An elected fellow of the Explorers Club, Lacovara’s presentation "Hunting for dinosaurs showed me our place in the universe" was chosen as one of the Top 10 TED Talks of 2016.

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