24 April 1984 |
Ottawa, Illinois, US
|Other names||Steve Brusatte|
|Institutions||University of Edinburgh|
|Alma mater||University of Chicago (B.S.)
University of Bristol (MSc)
Columbia University (MPhil & PhD)
|Doctoral advisor||Mark Norell|
|Other academic advisors||Paul Sereno
Michael J. Benton
|Known for||Evolution of dinosaurs|
|Author abbrev. (zoology)||Brusatte|
Stephen Louis Brusatte (born April 24, 1984) is an American paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, who specializes in the anatomy and evolution of dinosaurs. He was educated at the University of Chicago for BS degree, at the University of Bristol for MSc on a Marshall Scholarship, and finally at the Columbia University for MPhil and PhD. He is a Chancellor's Fellow in Vertebrate Palaentology at the University of Edinburgh. In addition to his scientific papers and technical monographs, his popular book Dinosaurs (2008) and the textbook Dinosaur Paleobiology (2012) earned him a wide acclaim, and he became the resident palaeontologist and scientific consultant for the BBC Earth and 20th Century Fox's 2013 film Walking With Dinosaurs, which is followed by his popular book Walking with Dinosaurs Encyclopedia.
Brusatte was born in Ottawa, Illinois to Jim and Roxanne Brusatte. He was educated at the Ottawa Township High School. From 2002, he attended the University of Chicago from where he earned his BS in geophysical sciences in 2006. He studied under Paul Sereno. He was elected a Student Marshal, the highest academic honor the university bestows to undergraduates. He was also the winner of the John Crerar Foundation Science Writing Prize and the Howard Hughes Institute Undergraduate Research Fellowship. In 2006, he was awarded the Marshall Scholarship to study in the United Kingdom. He entered the University of Bristol and obtained an MSc in both palaeobiology and earth sciences in 2008. His master's thesis was about the origin of a group of dinosaurs and was titled Basal Archosaur Phylogeny and Evolution, on which he was supervised by Michael J. Benton. He returned to the US to join the Columbia University, from where he completed his MPhil in 2011 and PhD in 2013 from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. During this period he concurrently worked as a researcher at the Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History. He became a Chancellor's Fellow in Vertebrate Palaentology at the School of GeoSciences in the University of Edinburgh in February 2013.
He is the author of the 2002 book Stately Fossils: A Comprehensive Look at the State Fossils and Other Official Fossils and the 2008 book Dinosaurs. Brusatte has additionally authored several scientific papers as well as over 100 popular articles for magazines such as Fossil News, Dino Press, Dinosaur World, and Prehistoric Times. At Chicago, he aided in the creation of two databases, TaxonSearch and CharacaterSearch, that organize taxonomic and phylogenetic information.
Brusatte has discovered more than a dozen new species of vertebrate fossils. His breakthrough in the study of dinosaur fossils was while at the University of Chicago with Paul Sereno. Sereno had discovered a 95-million-year-old dinosaur skull, jaw and neck fossils in 1997 from Elrhaz Formation of the Niger Republic in Africa, and was looking for a competent student to analyse it. Brusatte took the opportunity in 2004, completed the project in 2005, and published his findings in 2007 with Sereno. It was a new species of dinosaur which they named Carcharodontosaurus saharicus. He estimated that the complete skull would be more than five feet long, one of the biggest skulls of a known carnivorous dinosaur. This was immediately followed by description of another new species in January 2008, named Kryptops palaios. Another significant discovery was from China in 2014. With Chinese paleontologists he described a 66-million-year-old dinosaur, named Qianzhousaurus sinensis, which was closely related to the famous T. rex, and so they gave the nickname "Pinocchio rex".
In January 2015 his team announced the discovery of a marine reptile belonging to the Jurassic Period, around 170 million years ago. The giant, long-nosed, fish-like animal, named Dearcmhara shawcrossi, was found on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. He warrants that the species is not ancestral to Nessie, the Scottish legendary marine animal, as popular media liked to hype, but is certainly the first "distinctly Scottish prehistoric marine reptile".