Scott D. Sampson
  • Sausalito, CA
  • United States
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Research Curator
Natural History Museum of Utah
Scott Sampson is a Canadian-born dinosaur paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and science communicator who presently serves as Research Curator at the Natural History Museum of Utah and Adjunct Associate Professor, Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, both at the University of Utah. He also sits on the board of the directors of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. After receiving his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Toronto in 1993, he spent a year working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, followed by five years as assistant professor of anatomy at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine on Long Island. From 1999-2007, he held a dual position with the Utah Museum of Natural History and the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah, serving for the last several years of that period as chief curator and associate professor, respectively. His research has focused on the ecology and evolution of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs, and he has conducted fieldwork in a number of countries, including Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Madagascar, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. His current research efforts are focused on a large scale project in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, southern Utah, which has yielded abundant remains of a previously unknown assemblage of dinosaurs. Sampson has published numerous scientific and popular articles, and has lectured extensively to audiences of all ages on dinosaurs and evolution.

In 2007, Sampson moved to the San Francisco Bay Area of California. In addition to continuing dinosaur research through the University of Utah, he is now pursuing a range of new projects focused on education. Among these endeavors is a blog, The Whirlpool of Life ( Sampson was the primary scientific consultant and on-air host of the four-part Discovery Channel series Dinosaur Planet. Appearing as “Dr. Scott the Paleontologist,” he is presently serving the same pair of roles for the hit PBS KIDS television series Dinosaur Train, produced by the Jim Henson Company. Sampson’s recent book, Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life, is the first comprehensive review of dinosaur paleontology for a general audience in more than two decades. He is presently working on another book that addresses the pressing problem of connecting children with nature.
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Scott D. Sampson's Blog

The Human-Nature Divide

We should all be worried about the gaping psychological chasm separating humanity from nature. Indeed a strong argument can be made that bridging this divide deserves to be ranked amongst the most urgent 21st Century priorities. Yet so far the human-nature divide hasn’t even made it to our cultural to-do list.

For the past several decades, numerous scientists and environmentalists have been telling us that we must change our ways and strike a balance with nature, or face…


Posted on January 23, 2013 at 11:20am

Nature Tips

We humans have a rather bizarre relationship with nature. We seek out nature to stroll, run, bike, rollerblade, climb, swim, skydive, surf, sail, commune, birdwatch, whalewatch, and stargaze, spending billions of dollars a year gearing up for and traveling to these activities. While there, we collect bugs, rocks, driftwood, fossils, counts of bird species, or, most commonly these days, photographs. Closer to home, we grow nature in our gardens, place it in pots that adorn our living spaces,…


Posted on January 3, 2013 at 12:19pm

Learning Bird Language

Arriving at our backyard “sit spot,” Jade and I didn’t have to wait long before the familiar chickadee duo appeared in a nearby thicket and began chirping happily. A male robin patrolling his territory wasn’t far behind, his pulsing crimson breast pumping out a gorgeous melody. Next to emerge, seemingly out of thin air, was a pair of song sparrows, who began a staccato of “seep-seep” calls. “I’m here.” “Yes, I’m here too.”


Suddenly, like a lighting strike, the calm morning…


Posted on December 31, 2012 at 1:52pm

Falling In Love With Nature

Yesterday, I discovered a remarkable TED talk by David Roberts. Roberts is a blogger who writes about energy and politics for Grist. His aim in this 15-minute presentation, remixed with music and extra imagery, is to summarize and simplify the science of climate change. Just the facts ma’am. Now, I study fossils, not climate, so I’m not on a first-name basis with all the relevant data. Yet, given my understanding of current climatological consensus, Roberts has his facts…


Posted on November 29, 2012 at 3:41pm

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At 9:59pm on March 30, 2012, Suz Lipman said…

Hi Scott, Warm welcome to C&NN Connect. I'm the forum host. I'm glad you found us and hope you make yourself at home in discussions and groups. Our Natural Teachers Network will probably interest you, among others. I've heard about your wonderful work and hope you'll share your activities, ideas and photos with us and find this a rich source of resources. For any questions about the network, see our FAQ page. Hope to see you here again soon.


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