National Geographic Society

Tyler Lyson (left) of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Ian Miller of the National Geographic Society, shown out in the field, will present “The Colorado Fossil Discovery that Rocked the World” on Sunday, Sept. 19 as part of the Collegiate Peaks Forum series. The event will be held at the Salida Steam Plant, 200 W. Sackett Ave., in Salida. A reception at 5:30 p.m. (RSVP required) will be followed by the lecture at 7 p.m.

After a year of Zoom and outdoor lectures, the Collegiate Peaks Forum Series (CPFS) will reopen its lecture series with a reception and a presentation by two paleontologists.

The free event will be held at the Salida Steam Plant Ballroom and Theater on Sunday, Sept. 19. The reception will be held in the ballroom at 5:30 p.m., followed by the lecture in the theater at 7 p.m.

Reservations are required for the reception. RSVP to treasurer@collegiatepeaksforum.org with name, contact information, and the number of attendees in the group. COVID-19 safety protocols, including limited capacity, social distancing and masking will be in place.

The lecturers for this celebratory event reopening CPFS will be Tyler Lyson, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Ian Miller, formerly of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and currently chief scientist and innovation officer for the National Geographic Society. They will present “The Colorado Fossil Discovery that Rocked the World.”

Sixty-six million years ago, a six-mile-wide asteroid slammed into Earth and caused the extinction of more than 75% of life on the planet, including the dinosaurs. This was the single worst day for life on Earth. How and when life rebounded in the aftermath of the mass extinction has been shrouded in mystery due to a poor fossil record. An extraordinary new discovery east of Colorado Springs preserves a remarkably complete fossil record with entire fossil mammals, turtles, crocodiles, and plants, and paints a vivid picture of how and when life rebounded after Earth’s darkest hour. Lyson and Miller will present their discoveries and discuss their significance in tracing the regeneration of Earth’s plants and animals after the destruction by the asteroid.

Lyson is responsible for the fossil reptiles collection at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He received his Ph.D. and Master of Arts in geology and paleontology from Yale University, and his Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College. Lyson was a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History before joining the Denver Museum in 2014.

From 2006 to 2021, Miller was curator of paleobotany and director of earth and space sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He received his Ph.D. and Master of Arts in geology and paleobotany from Yale University, and his Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College.

The Collegiate Peaks Forum Series, now in its 19th year, is a free lecture series with presentations in Leadville, Buena Vista and Salida. For more information about CPFS, visit www.collegiatepeaksforum.org.

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