Currie, Dr. Philip

2006 Winner: Outstanding Leadership In Alberta Science

Leading The Way In Palaeontology

For more than 30 years, Dr. Currie’s name has been virtually synonymous with dinosaurs in this province and in Canada. He was the scientific mastermind behind the creation of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta, one of the world’s leading centres for the study of dinosaurs. Dr. Currie is a Professor at the University of Alberta ‘s Faculty of Science (Department of Biological Sciences), and a Canada Research Chair in Dinosaur Paleobiology.

Important Discoveries

A world-renowned expert on meat-eating dinosaurs, Dr. Currie has carried out extensive research on the anatomy, evolution and behaviour of these great creatures. One of his most notable contributions was his effort to establish the link between birds and dinosaurs. For more than a decade he has been a proponent of the hypothesis that birds originated from dinosaurs.

He has also worked to uncover the many paleo mysteries inside Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most recently, along with a professor from Argentina, he identified and named a new species of meat-eating dinosaur, Mapusaurus rosea, which may be one of the biggest meat-eating dinosaurs known.

In 1976, Dr. Currie joined the staff of the Provincial Museum of Alberta as Curator of Palaeontology. He was involved with the proposal and planning of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller which opened in 1985 and now attracts about 375,000 visitors from around the world every year. Dr. Currie was the museum’s Assistant Director, then Curator of Dinosaurs, a position he held for more than 15 years before joining the University of Alberta.

Bringing Dinosaurs to Life

Currently, Dr. Currie is acquiring new technologies for his lab at the University of Alberta which will have an impact on the visualization of anatomical and biomechanical characteristics of dinosaurs. Technological advances have refined techniques that now enable researchers to study the soft anatomy, growth rates, longevity and other biological aspects of dinosaurs that previously eluded them.

Over the years, Dr. Currie has brought dinosaurs and their worlds to life for millions of Canadians through radio and television programs, public lectures, youth programs, films and children’s books. In 2003, Time magazine hailed him as one of Canada’s top five explorers. His research has benefited Alberta and Canada by creating greater international recognition of a very important aspect of Alberta’s natural heritage.