Skip to main content
COVID-19 Update: We are open! Face coverings and advance reservations required. Learn more here.
Skip to main content

Polar DinoFest Online


Welcome to NHMU’s fifth annual DinoFest, an annual celebration of all things dinosaur! This year in conjunction with our special exhibition, Antarctic Dinosaurs, our fan-favorite festival will be hosted online over ten weeks as we explore the world of Polar Dinosaurs!

Polar DinoFest will start on the weekend of January 23 and 24, when we will host six livestream panels with featured paleontologists. 

Then, each Friday for the following 10 weeks, we will release a new video from each paleontologist highlighting their amazing research in the world of polar dinosaurs. 

Both the livestream panels and the feature videos will be posted here on this webpage as well as on our YouTube channel and Facebook page

Launch Weekend Livestream Schedule

Videos will be released at 10 a.m. on each of the scheduled dates listed below. All times Mountain Standard Time. 

Saturday, January 23

  • 11 a.m. — Paleontologists Anne-Laure Decombeix, Nate Smith, and Marina Suarez
  • 2 p.m. — Paleontologists Pat Druckenmiller and Kerin Claeson
  • 5 p.m. — DinoFest Keynote Paleontologist Holly Woodward Ballard

Sunday, January 24

  • 11 a.m. — Paleontologists Aubrey Roberts, Dan Ksepka, and Karen Chin
  • 2 p.m. — Paleontologists Jaelyn Eberle and Ron Tykoski
  • 5 p.m. — DinoFest Keynote Paleontologist Peter Makovicky



Submit your questions in advance.

Keynote Speakers

Each year, our DinoFest paleontologist presentations are anchored by two keynote talks. This year, we are thrilled to welcome Peter Makovicky and Holly Woodward Ballard, experts in Polar Dinosaurs and their modern-day relatives.

Peter in Antarctica

Polar DinoFest Keynote Speaker Peter Makovicky

Frozen Fossils: Mesozoic Paleontology of Antarctica
Peter is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Minnesota, where he studies evolutionary patters and processes in the fossil record. In addition to field work in Antarctica, Peter's research has taken him to China, Argentina, and around the U.S.

Peter's keynote video will be available here at 10 a.m. January 29.

Holly in Egypt

Polar DinoFest Keynote Speaker Holly Woodward Ballard

A Dinosaur for All Seasons: Fossil Bone Microstructures Reveal the Life Histories of Permanent Polar Residents
Holly is an associate professor of anatomy and paleontology at Oklahoma State University's Center for Health Sciences, where she studies the microscopic structures inside fossil bones to better understand the age, annual growth rate, maturity status, and health of extinct dinosaurs such as Maiasaura and Tyrannosaurus.

Holly's keynote video will be available here at 10 a.m. March 5.


Don't miss these DinoBites, our bite-sized paleontology presentations that will offer you a lot of information in a short amount of time! Many thanks to these ten Polar DinoFest paleontologists for putting together presentations on their fascinating research.

Cleason in Antarctica

Kerin Claeson

Sea Monsters from Seymour Island Antarctica — What Swam in the Oceans While Dinosaurs Roamed the Land?

Kerin, a paleoichthyologist and an anatomist, is an associate professor of anatomy in the Department of Bio-Medical Sciences at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her research focuses on the skeleton of fishes over time.

Available 10 a.m. Jan. 29
Nate Smith in Antarctica

Nate Smith

From Dicynodonts to Dinosaurs: Evolution and Biogeography of Early Mesozoic Faunas of Antarctica

Nathan is the associate curator at the Dinosaur Institute of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. His research focuses on the origins and early evolution of dinosaurs. His work is featured in the traveling exhibition, Antarctic Dinosaurs, currently at NHMU.

Available 10 a.m. Feb. 5


Anne-Laure in Antarctica

Anne-Laure Decombeix

Reconstructing the Triassic Forests of Antarctica

Anne-Laure is a paleobotanist for the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Montpellier, France. She studies fossils from various parts of Europe, Australia, North Africa, and Antarctica to understand the plants that were growing in these regions during the Paleozoic and early Mesozoic. 

Available 10 a.m. Feb. 12
Dan in the field

Dan Ksepka

March of the Fossil Penguins

Dan is the curator of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut. His research focuses on the evolution of birds, with a special interest in penguins. This work has taken him on expeditions in the United States, New Zealand, and South America.   

Available 10 a.m. Feb. 19


Marina in the field

Marina Suarez

Polar Climate in the Times of Dinosaurs

Marina is an associate professor of geology at the University of Kansas. She studies ancient continental environments to understand Earth's climate past, especially deep Earth history such as the Cretaceous Period. 

Available 10 a.m. Feb. 26
Ron in the field.

Ron Tykoski

Dinosaurs in the Land of the Midnight Sun

Ron is the director of paleontology and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas. There, he is working on the dinosaur species currently known from the Cretaceous of Arctic Alaska.

Available 10 a.m. March 5


Audrey in Antarctica.

Aubrey Roberts

Sea Monsters from the Jurassic Arctic

Aubrey is a post doctoral researcher in paleontology at the University of Oslo Natural History Museum, Norway. Her current research project investigating the recovery of life in Norway's Arctic region after the greatest mass extinction of all time. 

Available 10 a.m. March 12
Karen Chin in the field.

Karen Chin

Marine Life in a Cretaceous Arctic Ecosystem

Karen is the curator of paleontology at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, and a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at University of Colorado, Boulder. Karen's research focuses on reconstructing ancient ecosystems.

Available 10 a.m. March 19


Card image cap

Pat Druckenmiller

Nurseries of the North: Baby Dinosaurs from Arctic Alaska

Patrick is the director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, and professor of geology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His research focuses on Mesozoic marine reptiles and dinosaurs, particularly those from high latitudes.

Available 10 a.m. March 26
Jaelyn in the field.

Jaelyn Eberle

Finding Fossil Mammals in Canada’s High Arctic

Jaelyn is the director of the Museum and Field Studies Program and curator of fossil vertebrates at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, and a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research concentrates on teh study of ancient mammals during past intervals of climate change. 

Available 10 a.m. April 2

Keep Exploring Paleontology at NHMU

The Natural History Museum of Utah is your go-to resource for all things dinosaurs! From behind-the-scenes tours of the Museum's collections to educational activities for young aspiring paleontologists, scroll through and follow the links below to explore more paleontology at NHMU.

Polar DinoFest is supported by: