Paleontologista Jingmai O’Connor teaches the Nerds how to fly! Well, at least how dinosaurs evolved flight and eventually became the birds we live with today.
After 11 years in Beijing, Jingmai O’Connor is returning to the States to take over the fossil reptiles at Chicago’s Field Museum, a position once held by Ray’s friend and mentor Dr. Rainer Zangerl.
Although her new job requires knowing everything there is to know about the infamous specimin Sue, Jingmai spent her time in China studying the incredibly preserved bird fossils of the Jehol Biota. She was also skateboarding down the halls of natural history musuems and partying like the paleontologsta she is.
Jingmai was inspired to pursue her passion for paleontology by her mom, who went back to school to got her PhD in Geology when Jingmai was 8. Jingmai’s family spent time together outdoors, often combining her mother’s field work with family camping trips.
In this episode, Jingmai teaches the Nerds how to fly, or at least how dinosaurs evolved flight and eventually became the birds we live with today. Because all birds are dinosaurs (but not all dinosaurs are birds!) you can point at any old chicken or parrot and say with confidence “That is a dinosaur!”