Kenneth Lacovara

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Kenneth Lacovara
Kenneth J. Lacovara with Dreadnoughtus femur.jpg
Kenneth J. Lacovara with Dreadnoughtus femur
BornMarch 11, 1961 (1961-03-11) (age 60)
CitizenshipUnited States of America
Alma materRowan University
Known forDiscovery of Dreadnoughtus schrani, Paralititan stromeri, and other dinosaurs and for founding the Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University
Scientific career
InstitutionsRowan University

Kenneth John Lacovara (born March 11, 1961) is an American paleontologist and geologist at Rowan University and fellow of the Explorers Club,[1] known for the discovery of the titanosaurian dinosaur Dreadnoughtus and his involvement in the discovery and naming of the giant sauropod dinosaur Paralititan,[2][3] as well as his work applying 3D printing technology to paleontology.[4][5][6] Lacovara is the founder of the Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University in Mantua Township, New Jersey and a TED speaker.[7] He is author of the general-audience book, Why Dinosaurs Matter (2017), for which he received a Nautilus Book Award.[8] Additionally, he serves as Paleontology Fellow of the Academy of Natural Sciences.[9] He is a recipient of the Explorers Club Medal, the highest honor bestowed by The Explorers Club.[10]


Lacovara grew up in Linwood, New Jersey[11] and attended Mainland Regional High School.[12] He graduated with honors from Rowan University in 1984. He was named Alumnus of the Year in 2002.[13] He received a Master's degree in Physical Geography from the University of Maryland and a PhD in Geology from the University of Delaware in 1998.[14]

Professor of paleontology and geology at Rowan University, he is founding Dean of Rowan University's School of Earth & Environment and the founding Director of the Rowan Fossil Park. Formerly, Lacovara was a Professor of Biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Discover Magazine has three times listed his work in the "Top 100 Science Stories" of the year, for 2001,[15] 2012,[16] and 2014.[17] He was a speaker at the 2016 TED and INK conferences.

Lacovara is known for his work in applying high-tech tools to dinosaur paleontology, including 3D scanning and 3D printing,[16][18] and robotics.[19]

He is a resident of Swedesboro, New Jersey[12] and a professional jazz drummer.[20]


On September 4, 2014, Lacovara's discovery of the giant titanosaur, Dreadnoughtus schrani, was published by the journal Scientific Reports, making international headlines. It is the most complete skeleton of a giant titanosaur discovered to date.[21]

Lacovara was part of the team that discovered Paralititan stromeri in the Bahariya Oasis of Egypt in 2000. Paralititan was the first new dinosaur discovery in Egypt since the early 20th century and was featured in the 2-hour documentary The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt, narrated by Matthew McConaughey and produced by Ann Druyan. The team published their findings in Science in 2001.[22] The announcement of the new species was named by Discover Magazine as one of the "100 Top Science Stories of 2001".[23]

In China, Lacovara was part of a team that discovered multiple skeletons of the Early Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian) aquatic bird Gansus yumenensis. Gansus filled an important gap in bird evolution, and the team published their result in Science in 2006.[24]

Lacovara was also a member of the team that discovered Suzhousaurus megatherioides, a therizinosauroid from the Lower Cretaceous of the Gobi Desert of China.

Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University[edit]

Lacovara is the founding Director of the Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University, a 65-acre property in southern New Jersey that preserves a K/Pg bonebed of vertebrate fossils and serves as a site for STEM education and outreach.[25][26]

Explorers Club Medal[edit]

In 2019 Lacovara received the Explorers Club's highest honor, the Explorers Club Medal, awarded for "extraordinary contributions directly in the field of exploration, scientific research, or to the welfare of humanity.".[27] Previous recipients include Roy Chapman Andrews, Neil Armstrong, Jane Goodall, Edward O. Wilson, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.[28]

Selected talks by Kenneth Lacovara[edit]

  • La Ciudad de las Ideas, Puebla, Mexico - 2016[29]
  • INK, Goa, India - 2016[30]
  • TED Summit, Banff, Canada - 2016[31]
  • TED, Vancouver, Canada - 2016[32]
  • NASA New Horizons Flyby, Baltimore, USA - 2015[33]
  • TEDx Drexel, Philadelphia, USA - 2015[34]
  • Linda Hall Library of Science, Kansas City, USA - 2013[35]
  • iNatura, Dornbern, Austria - 2010[36]
  • Explorers Club Centennial Gala - 2004[37]


  • Why Dinosaurs Matter. New York: Simon & Schuster/TED Books, 2017. ISBN 978-1501120107 - winner of a Nautilus Silver Book Award.[8]


  1. ^ The Next Generation of Explorers. Men's Journal. September 2006. pp. 128–129.
  2. ^ Roach, John (May 31, 2001). ""Tidal Giant" Roamed Coastal Swamps of Ancient Africa". National Geographic News. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  3. ^ Smith, Jesse. "Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara". The Smart Set. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  4. ^ Hadhazy, Adam (January 29, 2013). "Digital Fossils Bring Dinos to Life" (January–February 2013). Discovery Magazine. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  5. ^ Wilkins, Alasdair (February 21, 2012). "Robot dinosaurs are the future of paleontology". io9. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  6. ^ Wagstaff, Keith (February 22, 2012). "The Robotic Dinosaurs That Could Change Paleontology Forever". Time. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Kenneth Lacovara". TED. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ "paleontology-fellow". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Avril, Tom. "Paleontologist gets equal pleasure explaining his work", The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 7, 2014. Accessed June 10, 2015. "The carpenter's son grew up in Linwood, Atlantic County, where the coastal terrain is largely sand and mud. Then one day at a Cub Scouts meeting, when Lacovara was in second grade, an amateur geologist brought in a box of geodes and minerals."
  12. ^ a b Marino, Suzanne. "MRHS students dig the mighty tale of Dreadnoughtus discovery by alum" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, The Current, February 24, 2015. Accessed June 10, 2015. "Mainland Regional High School can boast many successful alumnae. There are doctors, lawyers, politicians, NFL players, and Peace Corps volunteers, but Friday, Feb. 20, Ken Lacovara Ph.D., a paleontologist and possibly one of the most adventurous of the famous alums, stopped in to talk about what he has been up to since he left Mainland in 1978....
  13. ^ "Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients". Rowan Today. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Drexel University faculty page". Drexel University College of Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  15. ^ "Campus Buzz | Penn Current". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  16. ^ a b "Digital Fossils Bring Dinos to Life |". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  17. ^ "Introducing the Heavyweight Dino of the World |". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  18. ^ June, Laura (2012-07-02). "Printing dinosaurs: the mad science of new paleontology". The Verge. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  19. ^ "How a 65-ton dinosaur took a power walk". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  20. ^ Nothdurft, William; Smith, Josh (2002-09-24). The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 9781588361172.
  21. ^ Lacovara, Kenneth J.; Lamanna, Matthew C.; Ibiricu, Lucio M.; Poole, Jason C.; Schroeter, Elena C.; Ullman, Paul V.; Voegele, Kristyn K.; Boles, Zachary M.; Carter, Aja M.; Fowler, Emma K.; Egerton, Victoria M.; Moyer, Alison E.; Coughenour, Christopher L.; Schein, Jason P.; Harris, Jerald D.; Martínez, Rubén D; Novas, Fernando E. (September 4, 2014). "A Gigantic, Exceptionally Complete Titanosaurian Sauropod Dinosaur from Southern Patagonia, Argentina". Scientific Reports. 4: 6196. Bibcode:2014NatSR...4E6196L. doi:10.1038/srep06196. PMC 5385829. PMID 25186586.
  22. ^ Smith, Joshua; Lamanna, Matthew; Lacovara, Kenneth; Dodson, Peter; Smith, Jennifer; Poole, Jason; Giegengack, Robert; Attia, Yousry (June 1, 2001). "A Giant Sauropod Dinosaur from an Upper Cretaceous Mangrove Deposit in Egypt". Science. 292 (5522): 1704–6. Bibcode:2001Sci...292.1704S. doi:10.1126/science.1060561. PMID 11387472. S2CID 33454060.
  23. ^ "Campus Buzz: A huge discovery..." Penn Current. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  24. ^ You, Hai-Lu; Lamanna, Matthew; Harris, Jerald; Chiappe, Luis; O'Connor, Jingmai; Ji, Shu-an; Lü, Jun-chang; Yuan, Chong-xi; Li, Da-qing; Zhang, Xing; Lacovara, Kenneth; Dodson, Peter; Ji, Qiang (June 16, 2006). "A Nearly Modern Amphibious Bird from the Early Cretaceous of Northwestern China". Science. 312 (5780): 1640–1643. Bibcode:2006Sci...312.1640Y. doi:10.1126/science.1126377. PMID 16778053. S2CID 42723583. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  25. ^ Driscoll, Jessica (June 28, 2012). "Mantua Township's Inversand site may be of national importance to paleontologists". Gloucester County Times. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  26. ^ Chang, Kenneth (2016-01-04). "Behind a Shopping Center in New Jersey, Signs of a Mass Extinction". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ "La Ciudad de las Ideas". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  30. ^ "INK2016 | Stories, Ideas and Perspectives | 300+ Inspirational talks by remarkable people from INK events -". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  31. ^ "Meet the 110 speakers at TEDSummit 2016 (including some of the most popular of all time)". 2016-03-29. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  32. ^ Lacovara, Kenneth, Hunting for dinosaurs showed me our place in the universe, retrieved 2016-09-24
  33. ^ Ewing, Rachel (2015-07-10). "Quick Take: A Paleontologist's View of the New Horizons Pluto Flyby". Drexel News Blog. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  34. ^ "TEDxDrexelU |". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  35. ^ "Next-Gen Paleontology: 3D Printed Dinosaurs - Linda Hall Library". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  36. ^ "Dinosaurier in der inatura: Amerikanischer Star-Paläontologe Prof. Dr. Kenneth Lacovara hielt Vortrag in Dornbirn". Dinosaurier in der inatura: Amerikanischer Star-Paläontologe Prof. Dr. Kenneth Lacovara hielt Vortrag in Dornbirn. (in German). Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  37. ^ "From Antarctica to Mars in 100 years". Retrieved 2016-09-24.

External links[edit]