Last October, Yale graduate School of Arts & Sciences alumni, Tyler Lyson PhD ’12 and Ian Miller PhD ‘07, made public their groundbreaking discovery as to how mammals evolved and came to thrive after the extinction of the dinosaurs. As characterized by George Sparks, president and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science where the two are Curator of Vertebrae Paleontology and Curator Paleobotany & Director of Earth & Spaces Sciences respectively, the significance of their work can’t be overestimated:
For the first time, exceptionally preserved animal and plant fossils from the critical first million years after the asteroid impact shine a light on how life emerged from our planet’s darkest hour…we now understand the birth of the modern world we live in today.
For decades, exploration of rock outcroppings in the primordial Denver basin came up empty in the search for the reset of life on Earth. The breakthrough came when Tyler hit upon examining the concretions that formed in sedimentary rock, and at Corral Bluffs east of Colorado Springs, he split open one and saw “a mammal skull staring back at me.” For this earth scientist from Mammuth, North Dakota, who had scrambled around the badlands as a child looking for fossils, this remarkable moment nearly brought tears to his eyes.
Once they knew what to look for, suddenly they began to find skulls about every fifteen minutes, and they came away with nearly a thousand vertebrae fossils with sixteen different kinds of mammals as well as 6000 plants fossils and 37,000 pollen grains. Their story has been told in a PBS Nova documentary The Rise of the Mammals.
We are thrilled that Tyler, Ian, and recent DMNS addition Holger Petermann PhD ’18 will present their findings and share the experience of a adding a major chapter to the understanding of how we came to be. On Monday, February 24th, come to the University Club, 1673 Sherman Street, Denver, for a reception starting at 6:00 with cash bar and passed appetizers, followed by their presentation and Q&A. Admission is $25. Meters in the area are free after 6, and spaces are usually readily had. The UClub is walking distance from Civic Center Station, the last stop for the free 16th Street mall bus from Union Station.
Please purchase by Monday, February 17th. Use PayPal button below, or send a check to: Colorado Yale Association, P.O. Box 911, Denver, CO, 80201. If you opt for the latter, please notify Stephanie Grilli: email@example.com