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Paleontologist Shares Her Love of Science and Dinosaurs
Dr. Julia Clarke inspires young scientists in Chattanooga

Chattanooga, TN (March 21, 2007) – When “Dinosaurs Alive! 3D” comes to life at the IMAX 3D Theater March 30th, one face will be familiar to some Chattanooga students – Dr. Julia Clarke’s.

Dr. Clarke is an Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University, Research Curator of Paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and a Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History.

Her research focuses on the origin and evolution of birds. She has worked extensively in South America, as well as in Asia to find and document new fossil birds. With Chinese colleagues, she identified the bird elements of the famously forged bird-dinosaur ‘missing link,’ Archaeoraptor, and described the earliest fossil of a present-day bird lineage with Argentine collaborators. Her background also made Dr. Clarke a natural fit with the rest of the cast and crew of “Dinosaurs Alive! 3D”. She appears in the film as a researcher and expedition participant, and served as a Science and Education Advisor.

Thanks to support from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Clarke will be in Chattanooga talking to future scientists about this new IMAX 3D film and her career in paleontology. The Creative Discovery Museum’s Excavation Station will be the stage for an exciting afternoon of delving into the fossil records with children. Students from Chattanooga Middle School’s “Museum Academy” will join a large group from Girls Incorporated to meet Dr. Clarke in person. She has prepared a dynamic and engaging presentation that will cover her different expeditions, bone similarities between birds and dinosaurs, and what a paleontologist carries in a field kit.

This visit dovetails nicely with Girls Inc.’s Operation SMART, which emphasizes the study of science and math and pursuing careers in those fields, as well as engineering and technology. Sadly, far too many girls today still get the message that math and science are not for them. Dr. Julia Clarke will be a shining example for these young minds, that a career in science can be fun and rewarding in a variety of ways.

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