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Gerald Grellet-Tinner

Gerald Grellet-Tinnerís fascination for paleontology began at the age of 12. He spent most of his weekends looking for invertebrate fossils from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic in France and Switzerland. At age 16, he published a short paper on ammonites in the Schweitzer Strahler, a Swiss Journal. His introduction to vertebrate paleontology came later while prospecting in the southeastern region of France as he came across a fossil dinosaur egg, a paramount event in his life.

While he developed his paleontological skills, he studied gemology and obtained a Graduate Gemologist Degree. Then, he through a rather unusual set of circumstances, became a specialist in sapphires, rubies, emeralds and diamonds. But, after spending eight years as a gemologist, he returned to his real passion: paleontology.

Studying under T. Rowe at the University of Texas at Austin for his Master Degree in Geological Sciences his research focused on the question of whether eggs, and eggshell structures of extant birds could provide characters useful for phylogenetic analysis. The results validated the phylogenetic value of eggs and he presented his research at the meeting of the Vertebrate Paleontology Society, winning the second prize at the Poster Session. He, then, extended his research to non-avian dinosaur eggs particularly with the help of M. Norell and P. Makovicky from the American Museum of Natural History. P. Makovicky and himself reported and described the first occurrence of eggshell of Deinonychus antirrhopus, the famous American theropod that helped J. Ostrom revive the dinosaur-bird origin hypothesis. With M. Norell, he studied eggs from the Gobi Desert collected by the Central Asiatic expeditions under the leadership of M. Novaceck and M. Norell. Being keenly interested by the relationship between birds and theropod dinosaurs, his research centered on the eggs of the famous oviraptors and avian eggs from the Mesozoic layers of Bayn Dzak (Gobi Desert), a locality previously visited by R. C. Andrews.

He had the opportunity to participate in two field seasons with L.Chiappe in Patagonia at the renowned site of Auca Mahuevo where Titanosaur eggs are preserved with embryonic skin and skeletons in situ. While studying these eggs he discovered that the Membrana testacea (eggshell protein inner membrane) was also preserved (permineralized). He reported this discovery and its paleoecological implications to another meeting of the Vertebrate Paleontology Society where he received the first prize at the Poster Session. He is currently working in the Ph.D. Program at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles under the supervision of L. Chiappe and D. Bottjer. He recently went to China with L. Chiappe to work in the Xinjiang Autonomous Province and to study the dinosaur eggs discovered in other Chinese regions. He received the Chang Award at the last meeting of the Vertebrate Paleontology Society in Bozeman to support his research in China. His plans are to complete his oological research adding other elements of dinosaur reproduction, and to look comprehensively at the biomineralization of eggshell with its phylogenetic and paleoecologic implications.

His work has been supported by a grant from the Jurassic Foundation, the Infoquest Foundation, the Geological Society of Austin, a fellowship from UT (in the past), a fellowship from USC, and individual contributions (T. Rowe, and L. Chiappe). Currently Gerald authored and co-authored 15 abstracts, 6 papers (one is in press, and two are currently submitted).

Personal:

Work address: Department of Earth Sciences
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California 90007
Work Telephone 213-763 3445
Home Telephone 310- 550 1003
Email Address: grellet@earth.usc.edu

Education:

Bachelor of Sciences. C.N.T.E in Paris, France. June 1976.
Graduate Gemologist. The G.I.A in Los Angeles, CA October 1980.
Master in Geological Sciences. University of Texas at Austin (2001).
Ph.D. candidate in Earth Sciences. University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Current Positions:

Grad Student in Residence (Research) at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
Ph.D. candidate at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Assistant Teacher the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Fellowships, grants and Awards:

Marathon Scholarship, 1995
Deanís list of the college of Natural Sciences at U.T., 1995
Presidential Scholarship at U.T., 1996
Departmental reward from the Chairman for Excellent Proposal, at U.T 1998
AMNH study grant, September 1998
AMNH study grant, December 1998
Three departmental scholarships, at U.T., 1998 Fellowship, at U.T., 1999
Departmental professional funding, at U.T., 1999
Austin Geological Society award
Invitation to participate to the Ostrom Yale Symposium organized by Dr. J. Gauthier (1999)
Infoquest Foundation grant, 1999
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Poster Award, 1999
Jurassic Foundation grant, 2000
AMNH study grant, 2000
Invitation to participate to the Origin of bird Symposium in Florida, 2000
USC Earth Sciences Fellowship 2000
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Poster second place Award (for best research), 1999
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Poster first Price Award (for best research), 2000
USC Earth Sciences Fellowship 2001

Major Professional Service:

Chairman of the Austin-Adelaide Sister Cities committee. City of Austin, 1994-1995
2000 (Spring semester) Assistant collection manager (part time). Texas Memorial Museum
CalPaleo Co-Chair, 2001

Field work:

1974-1978 Several short seasons in the French Lutetian and Oxfordian.
1995 Upper Cretaceous in Big Bend National Park, TX.
1996 Upper Cretaceous in Big Bend National Park, TX.
1997 Upper Cretaceous in Big Bend National Park, TX.
1997 Lower Jurassic in the Kayenta Formation, AZ.
1998 Lower Jurassic in the Kayenta Formation, AZ.
1999 Upper Cretaceous in Rio Colorado, Patagonia, Argentina.
2000 Upper Cretaceous in Rio Colorado, Patagonia, Argentina.
2001 field season in China.

Publications (total:20, here are a few examples)

Grellet-Tinner, G. 1972. Ammonites nacrees du Nord de la France, 1972, Schweitzer Strahler.

Chiappe, L. M., Jackson, F., Dingus, L., Grellet-Tinner, G., Coria, R. 1999. Auca Mahuevo: An extraordinary dinosaur nesting ground from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 19 (3): 37A.

Grellet-Tinner, G. 2000. Phylogenetic interpretation of eggs and eggshells. First International.Congress on Dinosaur Eggs and Babies. Isona, Catalonia, Spain: 61-75.

Chiappe, L. M., Dingus, L., Jackson, F., Grellet-Tinner, G., Coria, R., Loope, D., Clarke, J., and A. Garrido. 1999. Sauropod eggs and embryos from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia, First International.Congress on Dinosaur Eggs and Babies. Isona, Catalonia, Spain: 15-16.

Grellet-Tinner, G., and Chiappe, L. M. 2000. Dinosaur eggshells and the origin of birds. The Florida Symposium on Dinosaur Bird Evolution. Publication in Paleontology, Graves Museum of Archeology and Natural History 2: 12.

Grellet-Tinner, G. 2000. A Study of Titanosaurid Eggshells from Auca mahuevo. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 20 (3): 46A.

Makovicky, P., and Grellet-Tinner, G. 2000. Association between a specimen of Deinonychus antirrhopus and theropod eggshell. First International.Congress on Dinosaur Eggs and Babies. Isona, Catalonia, Spain: 123-127.

Grellet-Tinner, G, and Norell, M . 2000. An egg from the Gobi and its avian affinities (submitted).

Grellet-Tinner, G. 2001. A re-evaluation of the Australian Snake Dam eggshell Phylogenetic and temporal implications. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology..

Grellet-Tinner, G. 2001. A re-evaluation of the Snake Dam eggshell Phylogenetic and temporal implications. Paleobios 21 (1): 4.

Chiappe, L. M, and G. Grellet-Tinner. 2001. Eggs, Nests, and Baby Dinosaurs: A look at Dinosaur Reproduction. Life in the past. The Quarterly Review of Biology 76 (2):224.

G. Grellet-Tinner.and L. M, Chiappe. Dinosaur Eggs and Nesting: Implications for Understanding the Origin of Birds (submitted).

Copyright: Palaeontologia Electronica, 31 January 2002