|A hatching dinosaur cast based off of Jack Horner’s
discoveries. Kinda cute in a prehistoric, skeletal way.
By tracy the astonishing
(Muesum of the Rockies Uploaded by
FunkMonk) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
When I was a kid in Upstate New York, I used to love hunting for fossils. I’ve never found anything bigger than some old sea shells, but the idea that something from the distant past could leave traces up until the present fascinated me. It never turned into a career path for me, but one man, Jack Horner, took that interest and turned it into a career.
When he was a child, he also enjoyed fossil hunting, and was hooked when he found his first dinosaur bone at the age of eight. The problem he had faced in hunting for an education was the schooling available didn’t mesh with the learning style his dyslexia gave him. He was able to pick up a great deal of information in his own way, but he didn’t do all that well in the grades department.
Regardless, he refused to let poor grades get in the way of his ambitions. He earned a high school diploma, and used that to get into the University of Montana. He proceeded to fail his classes, though he was able to learn the information taught. Although he wasn’t able to earn a college degree in the traditional sense, he was eventually able to get a job as a technician at the Museum of Natural History in Princeton.
From there, he worked his way up to leading expeditions, and eventually became curator of the museum, as well as a professor of paleontology at the University of Montana. That same university granted him an honorary doctorate for contributions, such as discovering the first dinosaur fetus and various other findings. He was also awarded the MacArthur Fellowship.
Most people would probably be more familiar with his work on the movie, Jurassic Park. He’d worked with the filmmakers on the background science to further the authenticity of the movie. In an example of reality imitating fiction, he’s been working on how to create a living dinosaur by combining genetic material discovered over the years and that of a bird. Here’s hoping the events of the movie don’t end up happening in the real world.
Jack exemplifies the determination and creative thinking that many successful dyslexics employ to pursue their passions.