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Interview with Paleontologist Jeffrey Thompson

Paleontologist Jeffrey Thompson

Area of Focus: Fossil Sea Urchins

Institution: University of Southern California

1. How did you become interested in Paleontology?

I have always been interested in Paleontology! I think it was probably movies like Godzilla and Jurassic Park that inspired me as a kid.



2. Explain the aspect of Paleontology that you focus on.

I am interested in the evolution of animal development. I use sea urchins to study this because their development is very well understood!



3. What do you do in the course of a day as a Paleontologist?

I mostly analyze data that I have collected at museums or in the field in the summer months. Right now I am writing up the results for my dissertation.



4. What was your favorite discovery or field experience?

Field work in Ireland. It was along the coast, so it was very beautiful. But we also found a lot of interesting fossils, so it was really great.



5. Is there anything else you want to say about being a Paleontologist?

Math is important! As a kid I knew I always wanted to be a paleontologist, but I though math would be irrelevant. Boy was I wrong!


Jeffrey Thompson fossil collecting in Ireland

Jeffrey Thompson fossil collecting in Ireland



Jeffrey Thompson doing research in a collections room at the Smithsonian

Jeffrey Thompson doing research in a collections room at the Smithsonian




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