Why Dinosaurs - and Outreach - Matter

Review of the PESGB’s GEOLiteracy Tour
This article appeared in Vol. 14, No. 4 - 2017


Lyme Regis field trip. “Which of these is a dinosaur?” asks Professor Ken Lacovara, showing his audience pictures of a pterodactyl and a fluffy penguin chick (answer: the penguin, to the distress of the little girl in the front row). “Why is the word dinosaur a synonym for failure?” he challenges, comparing how long dinosaurs lasted with the time hominids have been around. His audience, a mixture of Petroleum Society of Great Britain (PESGB) members, their families and the public, are spellbound, as his topics range from humans descending from the fish family to the Chicxulub meteorite impact and mass extinctions.

The talk, called ‘Why Dinosaurs Matter’, was part of the PESGB’s GEOLiteracy Tour, a major outreach event aimed at raising the profile of geology and earth sciences in the public consciousness. Prof. Lacovara, an excellent public speaker who has unearthed some of the largest dinosaurs ever found, was giving the annual Stoneley Lecture, which has been incorporated into this week-long event. The GEOLiteracy Tour travelled the UK, taking in London, Birmingham, Aberdeen and Dorset. This allowed a range of people from many different walks of life to hear Prof. Lacovara, and included a field trip in the home of palaeontology, Lyme Regis, as well as fun family activities. Many of the talks and events were free.

The PESGB is a charity, and outreach and education of the general public is part of its remit. The Stonely Lecture series and now this excellent GeoLiteracy initiative are to be applauded.

  • GEO ExPro Editor-in-Chief Jane Whaley, meeting Prof. Laracova.


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