Giant Birdlike Dinosaur Named for SMU Paleontologist

SMU Paleontologist Louis Jacobs mentored three of the scientists who are researching the dinosaur that was discovered in China.

Some people get streets named after them, others bridges or a building, but a Southern Methodist University paleontologist now has a giant birdlike dinosaur from the Cretaceous period that shares his name.

The researchers who are investigating the dinosaur gave it the name, Corythoraptor jacobsi, in honor of Louis L. Jacobs, a SMU professor in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences.

Jacobs mentored three of the scientists who published an article about the dinosaur, High diversity of the Ganzhou Oviraptorid Fauna increased by a new ‘cassowary-like’ crested species. The dinosaur’s remains were discovered by a farmer in China.

The authors were lead researcher Junchang Lü, an SMU Ph.D. alum and a professor at the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences; and Yuong-Nam Lee and Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, both SMU Ph.D. alums.


The article was published July 27 in the journal Nature’s online open access mega-journal of primary research, Scientific Reports.

The dinosaur’s name translates to “Jacobs’ helmeted thief.”

An article in Live Science described the dinosaur as being about 5 feet 5 inches tall and having a head crest measuring 6 inches.

The shape of the crest is very similar to the modern cassowary flightless bird native to Australia and New Guinea.

Jacobs is a world-renowned vertebrate paleontologist who joined the SMU faculty in 1983.

In 2012, Jacobs was recognized by the 7,200-member Science Teachers Association of Texas with its Skoog Cup for his contributions to the advancement of science education.

Jacobs also is the president of SMU’s Institute for the Study of Earth and Man.

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