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By Cari Hachmann
Paleontologist Ron Schmidtling will discuss recent discoveries of a new (ancient) dinosaur species at the monthly South Orange County Gem and Mineral Society meeting at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19 at the San Clemente Community Center, 100 N. Calle Seville.
Schmidtling will give a presentation on Dynamoterror, an ancestor of the tyrannosaur, which was discovered three years ago in New Mexico by his friends.
It lived in New Mexico during the Late Cretaceous Period, approximately 78 million years ago, according to a press release from SOCGEMS. Dynamoterror is one of the oldest tyrannosaurids discovered so far, and information about the discovery has only recently been published in Smithsonian magazine.
Schmidtling is a geologist, teacher, author and musician who will present a slide show about the proliferation of new discoveries and sing some dinosaur songs to accompany the presentation.
“He was a very knowledgeable and entertaining speaker at the club in 2018,” said Ellen Dupuy, SOCGEMS media relations volunteer.
The geologist and paleontologist explained that his interest in rocks and fossils began with family trips as a child growing up in Mississippi. Whenever they traveled and saw dinosaur or geological sites, the family would stop and explore. It fueled his enthusiasm, and eventually he moved to California, where he earned his Master of Science degree in geology from UCLA and received a fellowship to do graduate work in paleontology. He is currently an earth sciences instructor at Columbia College Hollywood, and he has worked at the Getty Conservation Institute, UCLA and University of Southern Mississippi.
Meetings of SOCGEMS are held the third Wednesday of the month in the San Clemente Community Center, next door to the library. Guests are welcome at no charge. Speaker presentation is preceded by hospitality and refreshments, a raffle and brief business meeting. SOCGEMS members are invited to field trips, special auctions, classes in lapidary, Junior Rock hound activities and more.
For more information visit SOCGEMS.com or follow it on Facebook.com/SOCGEMS to receive information on upcoming programs. The 56-year old nonprofit club serves the entire South Orange County community.