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Paleontologist to share details of North America's oldest winged dinosaur and other recent discoveries

| Linda Tollefsrud and Diane Walkoff

Photo caption: Dr. Dave Lovelace works with students Calvin So (left) and Aaron Kufner (right) on a Late Triassic fossil assemblage near Dubois, Wyoming, in 2017.

Dr. Dave Lovelace

Dr. Dave Lovelace

Dr. Dave Lovelace, a research scientist with UW-Madison’s Geology Museum, will present “North America’s Oldest Winged Dinosaur” from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Oct. 1 for UW-Eau Claire – Barron County's "Thursdays from the U" lecture series. The livestreamed presentation is free and open to all.

Lovelace is a vertebrate paleontologist who specializing in Triassic-age rocks of the Rocky Mountain west. He combines the study of ancient bones, trackways and soils to build a picture of what ecosystems looked like 230 million years ago — when the first mammals, turtles, crocodiles, lizards, dinosaurs and birds evolved.

During his talk Lovelace will describe how the turn of the century saw a revolution in our understanding of dinosaur evolution and their relationship with modern birds. Hundreds of new specimens, mostly from Asia, have illuminated a surprisingly diverse array of winged (paravian) non-flying feathered dinosaurs.

Hesperornithoides miessleri by Gabrielle Ugueto, a life reconstruction of the fossil specimen known as

Hesperonithoides meisleri by Gabrielle Ugueto, a life reconstruction of the fossil specimen known as "Lori" from the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation, central Wyoming.

In 2004, a tiny meat-eating theropod dinosaur was accidentally discovered by three undergraduates from the University of Wyoming. This little dinosaur has been known as “Lori” for many years, and as of July 2019 was formally named Hesperornithoides miessleri. Lovelace will describe this animal, analyze its evolutionary relationship within the dinosaur family tree and explain the long history of avian flight evolution.

Lovelace joined the UW Geology Museum team as a research scientist after completing his Ph.D. in UW-Madison’s department of geoscience in 2012. Since becoming a member of the museum team, he has made several exciting discoveries, including the oldest known turtle tracks in the world, two mass-death-assemblages of Late Triassic amphibians and the oldest dinosaur tracks in Wyoming.

Due to COVID-19, the fall 2020 series will be held entirely online. To access the livestreamed presentations, visit the "Thursdays from the U" webpage at least 5-10 minutes prior to the start of the event. There you will find instructions for joining the live session, as well as the complete fall schedule and archived recordings.

"Thursdays from the U" is sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County Foundation.

For more information about the weekly series, contact Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, professor emeritus of psychology, UW Colleges, at tollefla@uwec.edu or 715-788-6216.