Patricia Vickers-Rich

patricia vickers-rich
Patricia Vickers-Rich.

Name:

Patricia Vickers-Rich

Born:

1944

Nationality:

Australian; born in the United States

Dinosaurs Named:

Leaellynasaura, Qantassaurus, Timimus

 

About Patricia Vickers-Rich

Sometimes, even globe-trotting paleontologists become associated with the specific geographical areas in which they made their most famous fossil discoveries. Such is the case with Patricia Vickers-Rich, who along with her husband, fellow paleontologist Tom Rich, has become virtually synonymous with Dinosaur Cove.

In 1980, the couple explored the remains of this ancient river channel, studded with bones, on the southern coast of Australia--and soon they began a careful series of excavations, which involved the strategic use of dynamite and sledgehammers. (Vickers-Rich is not a native-born Australian; she was actually born in the United States, and emigrated Down Under in 1976.)

Over the next 20 years, Vickers-Rich and her husband made a series of important discoveries, including the small, big-eyed theropod Leaellynasaura (which they named after their daughter) and the mysterious ornithomimid, or "bird-mimic" dinosaur, Timimus (which they named after their son). When they ran out of children after which to name their fossils, they turned to the corporate institutions of Australia: Qantassaurus was named after Qantas, the Australian national airline, and Atlascopcosaurus after a prominent manufacturer of mining equipment.

What makes these finds especially important is that, during the later Mesozoic Era, Australia was located much farther south than it is today and it was therefore much colder--so Vickers-Rich's dinosaurs are among the few known to have lived in near-Antarctic conditions.