Paleontology's Indiana Jones; Great Minds; Exclusive Online Issues; by Kate Wong; 2 Page(s)
CHICAGO-Paul C. Sereno can't talk to me when I arrive on a Friday morning in early March. The University of Chicago paleontologist is busy preparing the lecture for a class that starts in 10 minutes. So I sit silently in a chair opposite him, taking in the ferocious-looking saber-toothed tiger skulls, dinosaur claws and other paleontological curiosities that perch atop the bookcases lining his spacious, sunlit office. Moments later he springs out of his seat, collecting the notes and transparencies. "It's been a hectic morning," he says hurriedly, explaining that he forgot his notes at home, as we head downstairs to pick up some slides. Realizing now that he's left something in his office, Sereno dashes back up the stairs two at a time. Within seconds he races down again, and we're off to class at a similarly aerobic pace.
Although it comes with a certain amount of chaos, such abundant energy has served the 42-year-old Sereno well in his prolific career as dinosaur hunter, scholar and popularizer. He has explored remote regions of South America and Africa and turned up numerous dinosaur skeletons (about a dozen of which represent new species)-discoveries that have elucidated such murky issues as the origins of dinosaurs and the effects of continental drift on their evolution.