Curator of Paleontology
Dr. Bakker is a world-renowned paleontologist, one of the first to posit that dinosaurs had feathers, long before feathered fossils were found. Along with other noted paleontologists such as John Ostrom and Armand de Ricqules, Bakker has changed the image of dinosaurs from slow-moving, slow-witted, cold-blooded creatures to, in at least some cases, warm-blooded giants well equipped to dominate the Earth for 200 million years.
He can speak knowledgeably on any topic related to paleontology, and is especially interested in re-creating the environments and deaths of prehistoric creatures using “CSI”-like forensic techniques.
“I was fond of saying most of dinosaur science was wrong stuff, and that did offend a lot of people. Someone had to say dinosaurs had feathers,” said Bakker. “I want to put dinosaurs in context and in their chosen environment. I want you to be able to feel and think and smell what a Stegosaurus experienced. I want you to smell fresh fish on your teeth as a Ceratosaurus, then do this with the whole history of dinosaurs. Then I want you to finally understand how and why dinosaurs ruled.”
Dr. Bakker has developed a world premiere exhibition Dinosaur Mummy CSI: Cretaceous Science Investigation, in which Leonardo, a mummified dinosaur with actual, preserved skin, was on public display for the first time at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Dr. Bakker was one of the first scientists to work on the mummy, beginning in 2002. He also leads the Museum’s Paleontology field program, currently digging for Dimetrodon and other Permian-era species in Seymour, TX.
Dr. Bakker is the author of the groundbreaking 1986 book The Dinosaur Heresies: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and Their Extinction, and has written many dinosaur books for both adults and children since then. Bakker was among the advisors for the film Jurassic Park, and the character Dr. Robert Burke in the motion picture The Lost World: Jurassic Park is based on him.