Dinosaur Hunting with Mark Norell

Mark Norell is a paleontologist and curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. And, although he enjoys being in the Gobi Desert, hunting for fossils of ancient creatures, life in the field isn’t always glamorous.

Mark Norell: There’s a duality to it. I mean, I love the field for what the field is — fixing the trucks when they break down, figuring out what we’re going to have for dinner that night, figuring out how much gasoline and water we’ve got and stuff — so it’s very different than my life here in New York. It can be very hot, there are large sandstorms. I mean, it is a pretty harsh desert, and by the end of it, you’re looking forward to getting an ice-cold beer and a decent meal and not sleeping on the ground.

But it’s back in New York where the real excitement begins.

Mark Norell: But I also love doing the actual research, whocih you don’t do really out there. Out there, its just finding these fossils and bringing them back … most of the time we don’t even know what we’ve got when we’re collecting out there. It isn’t until we get it back here and the research progresses on it that we can actually, we actually get excited about it and start coming up with new ideas and things like that.

What you have in your mind?