New Jersey paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara has opened a gift that has been in the works for over a decade.
As seen in last summer’s blockbuster, “Jurassic World: Dominion,” the toy accurately depicts the dinosaur species Lacovara, which was discovered in 2005.
When Lacovara opened the Mattel toy, he was immediately transported back to the desert in Patagonia, where he had first come across the remains of Dreadnoughtus schrani.
From mining in the desert in one of the most desolate regions on Earth to a toy marketed to millions of children in Target stores, he added, “What a long, bizarre ride it’s been.”
During his first day of excavation in the southernmost part of Argentina, Lacovara, the founding dean of Rowan University’s School of Earth and Environment, uncovered the dinosaur’s femur.
As he put it, “his younger self could not possibly conceive” of the discovery and the toy that resulted from it.
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From 2005 through 2009, Lacovara and his crew spent three to four months annually digging the bones. Through their efforts over the course of four years, he and his crew were able to unearth 145 human skeletons.
Dreadnoughtus, from the Latin for “fears nothing,” is the name he gave the new species once he proved its uniqueness.
Lacovara, who discovered his love for dinosaurs as a child, expressed his hope that the toy will inspire the same enthusiasm in today’s children.
How many children will find this gift wrapped and waiting for them on Christmas morning or their birthdays is anyone’s guess, Lacovara speculated? I can imagine that this toy will inspire the careers of some future scientists.