Norell, Mark A. 1957–
Norell, Mark A. 1957–
PERSONAL: Born July 26, 1957, in St. Paul, MN. Education: California State University, Long Beach, B.S., 1980; San Diego State University, M.S., 1983; Yale University, Ph.D., 1988.
ADDRESSES: Home—New York, NY. Office—Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park W. at 79th St., New York, NY 10024-5192. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Paleontologist, writer, and lecturer. American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, curator and chairman of paleontology division. Has participated in several international scientific expeditions.
AWARDS, HONORS: New York City Leader of the Year award, New York Times, 1998; Distinguished Alumnus, California State University, Long Beach, 2000; Orbis Pictus award, National Council of Teachers, 2000, for A Nest of Dinosaurs: The Story of Oviraptor; Young Readers' Book of the Year award, Scientific American, for Discovering Dinosaurs in the American Museum of Natural History; Explorer's Club fellow; Willi Hennig Society fellow.
(As Mark Norell) All You Need to Know about Dinosaurs, Sterling (New York, NY), 1991.
(With Lowell Dingus and Eugene S. Gaffney) Discovering Dinosaurs in the American Museum of Natural History, foreword by Angela Milner, Knopf (New York, NY), 1995, revised edition published as Discovering Dinosaurs: Evolution, Extinction, and the Lessons of Prehistory, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2000.
(With Lowell Dingus) Searching for Velociraptor, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.
(Consultant, with Philip J. Currie and Paul Sereno; as Mark Norell) Shelley Tanaka, Graveyards of the Dinosaurs: What It's Like to Discover Prehistoric Creatures, illustrated by Alan Barnard, Hyperion Books (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Lowell Dingus) A Nest of Dinosaurs: The Story of Oviraptor (young adult), illustrated by Mick Ellison, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1999.
(As Mark Norell) Unearthing the Dragon: The Great Feathered Dinosaur Discovery, photography and illustrations by Mick Ellison, Pi Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Also author of Introduction to Tyrannosaurus, Introduction to Triceratops, and Introduction to Corythosaurus, all Eyewitness Books (London, England), all 1993. Contributor to books, including The Dinosaur Encyclopedia, edited by G. Olshevsky, Publications International (Chicago, IL), 1990; Imagining Dinosaur Imagery: The Science of Lost Worlds and Jurassic Art, Academic Press (San Diego, CA), 2000.
Contributor to scientific journals, including Science, Nature, Systematic Zoology, Journal of Herpetology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, American Museum Novitiates, Cladistics, Scientific American, and Paleobiology.
SIDELIGHTS: Paleontologist and museum curator Mark A. Norell has participated in several scientific expeditions in various countries, including Patagonia, Cuba, Chile, and Mongolia. Norell has made many significant discoveries during these expeditions and has even named dinosaurs such as the Apsaravis, Byronosaurus, and Achillonychus. In addition to his field work, Norell has also written several books about dinosaurs and related topics.
Norrell wrote Discovering Dinosaurs in the American Museum of Natural History with Lowell Dingus and Eugene S. Gaffney. The authors later revised the book and it was republished as Discovering Dinosaurs: Evolution, Extinction, and the Lessons of Prehistory. The original version is a guide to the Hall of Dinosaurs exhibit in the American Museum of Natural History; it contains descriptions of forty-one dinosaurs in a question-and-answer format. Reviewers applauded both the content and illustration of the book. Gilbert Taylor, writing in Booklist, described Discovering Dinosaurs in the American Museum of Natural History as "an appeal to replace imaginative speculation about the giant creatures with empirically convincing scientific information." A Publishers Weekly contributor called the first edition a "superb guide." The contributor further commented: "Handsomely illustrated … this volume takes us into a new world of dinosaurs."
In 1999 Norell published A Nest of Dinosaurs: The Story of Oviraptor, which he wrote with Lowell Dingus. In the book, the authors describe their field work in Mongolia, where they discovered the fossil of an Oviraptor perched over a nest of eggs. This discovery was significant because the Oviraptor was formerly believed to be a carnivorous dinosaur that stole eggs out of other dinosaurs' nests. The fossil that the authors found appeared to be parenting the eggs, not attacking them, thus changing the commonly held view of its behavior. Many critics responded favorably to the book. A Horn Book magazine reviewer pointed out the authors' skill in "explaining how one's best ideas can change in light of new evidence" which "allow[s] readers insight" into a constantly changing field. School Library Journal contributor Patricia Manning called the book "engrossing reading," while Marta Segal, writing in Booklist, concluded, "This book is a dream come true for children (or adults) fascinated by the creatures."
Norell followed A Nest of Dinosaurs with Unearthing the Dragon: The Great Feathered Dinosaur Discovery. The book is another account of Norell's field work; it documents his discovery of fossils indicating the existence of feathered dinosaurs in China. This discovery suggests that dinosaurs may be genetically closer to birds than previously believed. Critics enjoyed the personal insights provided by Norell. Unearthing the Dragon "provides both a personal story … and a scientific expose," commented Diane C. Donovan, a reviewer for MBR Bookwatch. Gloria Maxwell, writing in the Library Journal, held a similar opinion: "Scholars and dinosaur aficionados alike will enjoy Norell's personal account."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 1995, Gilbert Taylor, review of Discovering Dinosaurs in the American Museum of Natural History, p. 1621; December 1, 1999, Marta Segal, review of A Nest of Dinosaurs: The Story of Oviraptor, p. 698.
Horn Book, January, 2000, review of A Nest of Dinosaurs, p. 101.
Library Journal, July 1, 2005, Gloria Maxwell, review of Unearthing the Dragon: The Great Feathered Dinosaur Discovery, p. 117.
MBR Bookwatch, October, 2005, Diane C. Donovan, review of Unearthing the Dragon.
Publishers Weekly, April 24, 1995, review of Discovering Dinosaurs in the American Museum of Natural History, p. 55.
School Library Journal, October, 2005, Patricia Manning, review of A Nest of Dinosaurs, p. 64.
American Museum of Natural History Web site, http://research.amnh.org/ (March 24, 2006), author biography and curriculum vitae.