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It is widely accepted that dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago when Earth was struck by an asteroid that resulted in mass extinction. But did all dinosaurs go extinct?

Colin Sumrall, assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences, will look at the transformation of a lineage of small carnivorous dinosaurs into birds and show why we are still living in the age of the dinosaurs. His Science Forum talk, “The Origin of Birds: Did the Age of Dinosaurs Really End?” will be held at noon on Friday, October 9, in Room C-D of Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Science Forum is a weekly brown-bag lunch series that allows professors and area scientists to discuss their research with the general public in a conversational presentation.

Free and open to the public, each Science Forum consists of a forty-minute presentation followed by a Q-and-A session. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch or purchase it at the cafe in Thompson-Boling Arena. The Science Forum, sponsored by the UT Office of Research and Engagement and Quest, an initiative to raise awareness of the research, scholarship, and creative activity happening on campus.

Sumrall earned his Bachelor of Science in geology from Arizona State University and his master’s and doctoral degree in geological sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. He has taught at UT since 2002 while researching 500-million-year-old fossil echinoderms addressing questions of evolutionary relationships and biography.

Upcoming Science Forum presentations are:

October 23 – John Schwartz, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, “Restoring Urban Streams: What is ‘Natural’?”

October 30 – David Matthews, professor of architecture and design, chair of interior design, “Design Thinking and Creative Process: How Designers Approach Wicked Problems and Engage the Future”

November 6 – Matthew Mench, Condra Chair of Excellence Professor and head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, “Where Do We Put All the Renewable Energy?”

November 13 – Melissa R. Allen, postdoctoral researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, “Climate Variability and Change: What Fundamental Science and Modeling Tell Us”

November 20 – Natalie Mong, education director for Upstate Birds of Prey, “The Fascinating Biology of Birds of Prey”


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,