Paul Sereno

Paul Callistus Sereno (born October 11, 1957) is a professor of paleontology at the University of Chicago and a National Geographic "explorer-in-residence" who has discovered several new dinosaur species on several continents, including at sites in Inner Mongolia, Argentina, Morocco and Niger.[1] One of his most widely publicized discoveries is that of a nearly complete specimen of Sarcosuchus imperator — popularly known as SuperCroc — at Gadoufaoua in the Tenere desert of Niger.

Paul C. Sereno
Paul Sereno Lab Photo
At his laboratory in 2010
BornOctober 11, 1957 (age 61)
ResidenceChicago, Illinois
Alma materNorthern Illinois University (B.S., Biological Sciences, 1979)
Columbia University (M.A., Vertebrate Paleontology, 1981; M. Phil., Geological Sciences, 1981; Ph.D., Geological Sciences, 1987)
Known forDiscoveries in paleontology; founder of Project Exploration
Scientific career
FieldsPaleontology (vertebrate)
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago
Doctoral studentsJeffrey A. Wilson
Author abbrev. (zoology)Sereno


Youth and education

The son of a mail carrier[2] and an art teacher at Prairie Elementary, Sereno grew up in Naperville, Illinois and graduated from Naperville Central High School. He was then educated at Northern Illinois University (B.S., Biological Sciences, 1979) and Columbia University (M.A., Vertebrate Paleontology, 1981; M. Phil., Geological Sciences, 1981; Ph.D., Geological Sciences, 1987).


Sereno was named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People (1997).[3]

Sereno co-founded Project Exploration, a non-profit science education organization to encourage city kids to pursue careers in science.

He appears in the 2009 DVD Dinosaur Discoveries, featuring classic segments of CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite as the host, which aired on A&E in 1991. It was later re-shown on the Disney Channel until the late 1990s.

On August 14, 2008, it was revealed that Sereno had uncovered a large Stone Age cemetery at Gobero in the Nigerien Sahara, remnants of a people who lived from 10,000 to 5,000 years ago on the edge of what was then a large lake. The National Geographic documentary, Skeletons of the Sahara was made about this discovery and premiered in 2013. [4][5][6]

Fossil species described by Sereno or his team


Other fossil reptiles

Paul Sereno
Paul Sereno at a dig in 2010.

Documentaries featuring Sereno and his discoveries[7]

In addition to his many discoveries in the field, public communication has been a big part of Sereno's career.

Year Title Producer Featured Fossils (Sites)
1991 At the Forefront Kurtis Productions, Ltd., PBS
1992 Fragments of Time New Explorers, PBS Eoraptor (Argentina)
1993 The Next Generation, 1% Inspiration WNET, PBS
1994 Skeletons in the Sand New Explorers, PBS (Niger)
1995 African Graveyard, Part I: Hunting Dinosaurs The Learning Channel (Morocco)
1995 African Graveyard, Part II: The Discovery The Learning Channel (Morocco)
1996 Flesh on the Bones The Learning Channel (Morocco)
1998 Colossal Claw National Geographic Explorer Suchomimus (Sahara)
1998 Dinosaur Fever National Geographic Explorer sauropods (Niger)
1999 Africa's Dinosaur Giants National Geographic Explorer sauropods (Niger)
2001 SuperCroc NBC/NGC Sarcosuchus
2006 Sky Monsters NGC pterosaur (Niger)
2009 Bizarre Dinos NGC Nigersaurus, Raptorex, Mykocephale
2009 When Crocs Ate Dinosaurs NGChannel BoarCroc, PancakeCroc, DuckCroc, DogCroc, RatCroc (Sahara, Australia)
2013 Skeletons of the Sahara NOVA-NGTelevision humans (Gobero, Niger)
2014 Bigger than T. rex NOVA-NGTelevision Spinosaurus (Morocco)


  1. ^ Briggs, Helen (12 December 2007). "New meat-eating dinosaur unveiled" (Web). News article about; Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis was one of the largest meat-eaters that ever lived. BBC NEWS. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
  2. ^ Spalding, D.A.E., 1993, Dinosaur Hunters: 150 years of extraordinary discoveries, Key Porter Books, Toronto, p. 284
  3. ^ "Most Beautiful: Paul Sereno". People. 1997-12-05. Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
  4. ^ Dell'Amore, Christine (14 August 2008). "Ancient Cemetery Found; Brings "Green Sahara" to Life" (Web). News article about; Dinosaur hunters have stumbled across the largest and oldest Stone Age cemetery in the Sahara desert. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC NEWS. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  5. ^ Gwin, Peter (September 2008). "Green Sahara" (Web). Feature story about; Lost Tribes of the Green Sahara - How a dinosaur hunter uncovered the Sahara's strangest Stone Age graveyard. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  6. ^ "Skeletons of the Sahara" (Web). PBS. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
  7. ^ "Filmography | Paul Sereno - Paleontologist | The University of Chicago". Retrieved 2016-08-09.

External links


Afromimus (meaning "Africa mimic") is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Elrhaz Formation of Niger. It contains a single species, A. tenerensis, named in 2017 by Paul Sereno from parts of the right leg, vertebrae, and ribs found in the Ténéré Desert. It was originally classified as an ornithomimosaurian, but subsequently it was argued to be an abelisauroid closely related to Masiakasaurus.


Afrovenator (; "African hunter") is a genus of megalosaurid theropod dinosaur from the middle Jurassic Period of northern Africa.


Bagaceratopidae is a family of neoceratopsian dinosaurs. It was named by Alifanov in 2003 but no definition has been proposed. Because of lacking of the definition, Bagaceratopidae was considered inactive by Paul Sereno in 2005. Alifanov in 2003 classified to this family four genera: Bagaceratops, Breviceratops, Lamaceratops and Platyceratops and in a publication from 2008 he included in Bagaceratopidae also Magnirostris and newly described genus Gobiceratops. Alifanov suggested also that Bagaceratopidae, unlike other neoceratopsian families, is of Paleoasiatic origin.Bagaceratopids existed during the late Cretaceous period, between about 85.8 and 70.6 million years ago.


Deltadromeus (meaning "delta runner") is a genus of theropod dinosaur from Northern Africa. It had long, unusually slender hind limbs for its size, suggesting that it was a swift runner. The skull is not known. One fossil specimen of a single species (D. agilis, or "agile delta runner") has been described, found in the Kem Kem Beds, which date to the mid Cretaceous Period (mid Cenomanian age), about 95 million years ago. It may be a junior synonym of the contemporary Bahariasaurus. Deltadromeus has often been considered a ceratosaurian, more specifically a member of the family Noasauridae. In 2016, a South American theropod known as Gualicho shinyae was found to possess many similarities with Deltadromeus. Depending on the phylogenetic position of Gualicho, Deltadromeus may have been a neovenatorid carnosaur, a tyrannosauroid, or a basal coelurosaur if its close relation to Gualicho is legitimate.


Eocarcharia (meaning "dawn shark") is a genus of carcharodontosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Elrhaz Formation that lived in the Sahara 112 million years ago, in what today is the country of Niger. It was discovered in 2000 on an expedition led by University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno. The type and only species is Eocarcharia dinops. Its teeth were shaped like blades and were used for disabling live prey and ripping apart body parts. Eocarcharia’s brow is swollen into a massive band of bone, giving it a menacing glare (leading to the specific name dinops or "fierce-eyed"). It may have reached lengths of 6–8 m (19.7–26.2 ft).


Eodromaeus (meaning "dawn runner") was a genus of basal theropod dinosaur known from the Late Triassic (Carnian) Valle de la Luna Member of the Ischigualasto Formation of the Ischigualasto-Villa Unión Basin in northwestern Argentina. It has been cited by Sereno as resembling a supposed common ancestor to all dinosaurs, the "Eve" of the dinosaurs.


Eoraptor () was one of the earliest-known dinosaurs, living approximately 231 to 228 million years ago, during the Late Triassic in Western Gondwana, in the region that is now northwestern Argentina. It was a small, lightly-built, basal theropod dinosaur. It is known from several well-preserved skeletons. When first described in 1993, it was considered to be one of the earliest, if not the earliest-known dinosaur. Eoraptor has heterodont dentition, suggesting that it was omnivorous, and that this feeding strategy had evolved early on in dinosaurs.


Erliansaurus is a genus of therizinosauroid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of China.


Graciliceratops (meaning 'graceful horned face') is a small ceratopsian dinosaur originally described by Teresa Maryańska and Halszka Osmólska in 1975 and referred to Microceratops gobiensis. It was later redescribed as a new genus and species by Paul Sereno in 2000. It is known from the Late Cretaceous period and its fossils were found in Mongolia. Only a partial skeleton has been found. The type (and only known) species is Graciliceratops mongoliensis.

Graciliceratops is known from Shireegiin Gashuun Formation in Mongolia's Gobi Desert, north of the Nemegt Basin. The Shireegiin Gashuun locality is thought to be older than the Djadokhta localities that produced Protoceratops, and is probably early Late Cretaceous in age. The relationships of the genus are unclear, however the frill has large fenestrae bounded by very slender struts. This structure is very similar to that of the later Protoceratops.The skull of the animal measures an estimated twenty centimetres, and the whole animal would have been about the size of a cat. However, the arches and bodies of the vertebrae are not fused, which suggests that the animal was not fully grown when it died. The adult may have approached Protoceratops in size, which grew to around two meters.Like other ceratopsians, Graciliceratops would have been an herbivore, using its powerful beak and shearing teeth to process tough plant matter. Little is known about the flora of the ancient Gobi Desert, and so it is unclear what it would have eaten.


Heterodontosaurinae is an extinct subfamily of heterodontosaurid ornithischian dinosaurs from the earliest to the mid Middle Jurassic (Hettangian - Bajocian) of Africa and South America. Currently, the basalmost known heterodontosaurine is Lycorhinus angustidens from the Early Jurassic of Cape Province, South Africa. Heterodontosaurines are small-bodied ornithischians characterized by their cheek tooth crowns that are taller than wide, and jaw joint set below the axis of occlusion between maxillary and dentary teeth. Heterodontosaurinae was implicitly named in 1966 by Oskar Kuhn as he is the author of the family Heterodontosauridae. It is a stem-based taxon defined phylogenetically for the first time by Paul Sereno in 2012 as "the most inclusive clade containing Heterodontosaurus tucki Crompton and Charig 1962 but not Tianyulong confuciusi Zheng et al. 2009, Fruitadens haagarorum Butler et al. 2010, Echinodon becklesii Owen 1861."


Ignotosaurus is an extinct genus of silesaurid dinosauriform known from the Late Triassic (Carnian) Cancha de Bochas Member of the Ischigualasto Formation in the Ischigualasto-Villa Unión Basin in northwestern Argentina. It was therefore contemporary with early dinosaurs such as Herrerasaurus, and lived in the same place.


Jobaria is a genus of sauropod dinosaur that lived in what is now Niger during the middle Jurassic Period, between 164–161 million years ago.


Kryptops is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Niger. It is known from a partial skeleton found at the Gadoufaoua locality in the western Ténéré Desert, in rocks of the Aptian-Albian age Elrhaz Formation. This dinosaur was described by Paul Sereno and Stephen Brusatte in 2008. The genus name means "covered face", in reference to evidence that the face bore a tightly-adhering covering. The type species is K. palaios, which means "old".


Neimongosaurus ("Nei Mongol lizard") is a genus of herbivorous therizinosaur theropod dinosaur known from the Upper Cretaceous of Nei Mongol, China.

Neimongosaurus is a therizinosauroid which is known from the holotype LH V0001, a partially preserved skull and skeleton, consisting of a partial braincase, the front of the right lower jaw, a nearly complete axial column, a furcula, the shoulder girdle, both humeri, a left radius, parts of the pelvis and parts of the hindlimbs. The specimen was in 1999 collected in the Sanhangobi in Inner Mongolia from the Iren Dabasu Formation dating from the Santonian stage about 85 million years ago. A second specimen, LH V0008, consisting of a sacrum with ilia, was assigned as the paratype.The type species, Neimongosaurus yangi, was formally named and described by Zhang Xiaohong, Xu Xing, Paul Sereno, Kwang Xuewen and Tan Lin in 2001. The generic name is derived from Nei Mongol, the Chinese name for Inner Mongolia. The specific name honours Yang Zhongjian.Neimongosaurus was bipedal. The teeth in its deep lower jaw, coarsely serrated, indicate an herbivorous diet. It had elongated cervical vertebrae. Its scapula had a tapering end. Neimongosaurus is thought to have been about 2.3 meters in length.

The original describers of the genus assigned Neimongosaurus to the Therizinosauroidea, in a basal position. Subsequent cladistic analyses have indicated a position in the more derived Therizinosauridae, but an analysis in 2010 by Lindsay Zanno confirmed the original placement.


Pegomastax ("strong jaw") is a genus of heterodontosaurid dinosaur discovered in Lower Jurassic rocks in South Africa. It is based on SAM-PK-K10488, a partial skull including a postorbital bone, both dentaries (the tooth-bearing bone of the lower jaw), and a predentary (a toothless beak-like bone found at the tip of the lower jaw). From head to tail the parrot-like herbivore measured no more than 60 cm.

This specimen was found in Voyizane, Joe Gqabi District, Cape Province, in rocks of the upper Elliot Formation, a rock formation that dates to the early part of the Early Jurassic (Hettangian–Sinemurian, approximately 200 to 190 million years ago). It was collected during a 1966–1967 expedition but not formally named and described until 2012, when Paul Sereno, who had recognized it as unusual in the 1980s, published a description. The type species is P. africana. Pegomastax differed from other heterodontosaurids by details of the skull. The lower jaw was robust, with a short beak. Like most other heterodontosaurids, Pegomastax had an enlarged canine-like tooth at the beginning of the lower jaw's tooth row, which may have had a defensive function.


Rugops (meaning "wrinkle face") is a genus of abelisaurid theropod dinosaur that inhabited what is now Africa approximately 95 million years ago, during the Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous.


Sinornis is a genus of enantiornithean birds from the Lower Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of the People's Republic of China.

When it was described in 1992, this 120 million-year-old sparrow-sized skeleton represented a new avian sharing "primitive" features with Archaeopteryx as well as showing traits of modern birds. Its basal features include, but are not limited to, a flexible manus with unguals, a footed pubis, and stomach ribs. Sinornis is known only from the type species, Sinornis santensis. The generic name comes from the Latin Sino~, 'China' and the Greek ornis, 'bird'. The specific name santensis refers to the provenance from Chaoyang county in Liaoning Province as Santa, meaning "Three Temples", is a traditional name of the county.


Spinostropheus is a genus of small carnivorous ceratosaurian theropod dinosaur that lived in the Middle Jurassic period of Niger. The type and only species is S. gautieri.


Suchomimus (meaning "crocodile mimic") is a genus of spinosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived between 125 to 112 million years ago in what is now Niger, during the Aptian to early Albian stages of the Early Cretaceous Period. The animal was named and described by Paul Sereno and colleagues, based on a partial skeleton from the Erlhaz Formation. Its long and shallow skull, similar to that of a crocodile, earns it its genus name, while the species Suchomimus tenerensis alludes to the locality of its first remains, the Ténéré Desert. Some palaeontologists consider the animal to be an African species of the European spinosaurid Baryonyx, B. tenerensis. Suchomimus might also be a junior synonym of the contemporaneous spinosaurid Cristatusaurus lapparenti, although the latter taxon is based on much more fragmentary remains.

Suchomimus was 9.5 to 11 metres (31 to 36 ft) long and weighed between 2.5 to 5.2 tonnes (2.8 to 5.7 short tons), although the holotype specimen may not have been fully grown. Suchomimus's narrow skull was perched on a short neck, and its forelimbs were powerfully built, bearing a giant claw on each thumb. Along the midline of the animal's back ran a low dorsal sail, built from the long neural spines of its vertebrae. Like other spinosaurids, it likely had a diet of fish and small prey animals.


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