Famed paleontologist Philip Currie often spends his night in tents and days in dust.
He recently returned to his Edmonton home from Mongolia, and will travel to Antarctica late this year to help unearth another dinosaur. However, on Wednesday, Alberta's well-known fossil hunter was clad in a tuxedo and mingled with politicians and provincial leaders at Government House as he was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence.
"To suddenly become more formal again, well, it's an adjustment," he said, grinning. "This honour came as a surprise to me because one doesn't usually think of scientists being honoured in the same way philanthropists and others are. It's a wonderful feeling to know we're appreciated on this kind of scale."
Currie has named 25 new dinosaurs and three have been named in his honour. He was a driving force behind the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. Alberta has some of the richest dinosaur finds in the world, and some of the most intensively prospected areas, but Currie still gets excited over the inevitable discoveries to come.
"The reality is that there's nothing like this in the world. There is whole culture built upon Alberta dinosaurs, and it's because we have such good advertising in the Museum of Natural History in New York."
The Alberta Order of Excellence accepted eight new members in a black-tie ceremony, including former premier Ralph Klein.
Article reprinted with permission of Ryan Cormier of the Edmonton Journal
Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Renowned+paleontologist+honoured/3703241/story.html#ixzz13TzHpPfy
Photo courtesy of Tarl Currie.