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Robert T. Bakker

From Academic Kids

Robert T. Bakker (Bob Bakker) (born March 24, 1945) in Bergen, New Jersey, is a famous American paleontologist who has helped re-shape modern theories about dinosaurs, particularly by adding support to the theory that some dinosaurs were homeothermic (warm-blooded). His special field is the ecological context and behavior of dinosaurs. His book The Dinosaur Heresies first propelled him to popular attention. He has been a major proponent of the theory that dinosaurs were "warm-blooded," smart, fast and adaptable. He published his first paper on dinosaur endothermy in 1968. He revealed the first evidence of parental care at nesting sites for Allosaurus. Bakker was among the advisors for the film Jurassic Park. With a cowboy hat and his huge beard, in cowboy-biker style, he effectively communicates his skeptical enthusiasm for his subject, so that he is in demand as a talking head for dinosaur documentaries.

At Yale, Bakker studied under John Ostrom, an early proponent of the new view of dinosaurs, and gained a PhD at Harvard. He began by teaching anatomy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Most of his field work has been done in Colorado, especially at Como Bluff, but he has ranged as far as Mongolia and South Africa in pursuit of dinosaur habitats. Bakker is currently adjunct curator of the Tate Geological Museum, Casper College, Wyoming, where he is helping smaller natural history museums in the state link together.

His novel Raptor Red (ISBN 0785799729) tells the life of a female Utahraptor of the lower Cretaceous. In the story, Bakker elaborates on his theories of the behavior of dromaeosaurids ("raptor" dinosaurs) and life at the time of their existence.

The bearded paleontologist 'Dr. Robert Burke' in Steven Spielberg's film The Lost World: Jurassic Park is an affectionate caricature of Bakker. The character is eventually eaten by a Tyrannosaurus.

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