Montana State University

College of Letters and Science

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172360
Bozeman, MT 59717-2360

Tel: (406) 994-4288
Fax: (406) 994-7580
E-mail: lands@montana.edu
Location: 2-205 Wilson Hall

Dean:

Nicol C. Rae
nicol.rae@montana.edu

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L&S Faculty in the News - 2009

Jack Horner, earth sciences, was a co-authorsof a new paper analyzing North American dome-headed dinosaurs. The paper wipes out two species of dome-headed dinosaurs which were not separate species, as some paleontologists claim, but different growth stages of previously named dinosaurs. Horner suggests that one-third of all named dinosaur species may never have existed, but are merely different stages in the growth of other known dinosaurs. Science Daily (10/31/10)

Jack Horner and David Varricchio, earth sciences, were among the paleontologists who studied the jaws of 65 fossil tyrannosaurs to determine if the dinosaurs succumbed to a parasitic infection called trichomonosis. The disease has been found in T. rex fossils, and also in fossil tyrannosaur species that lived slightly earlier than T. rex, daspletosaurus and albertosaurus. Chicago Tribune (8/30/09), Science Codex (8/29/09)

Thomas Goltz, an adjunct instruction in the Department of Political Science, received some press coverage for an award-winning documentary film he made. The 15-minute music video, which is about four traditional players of Azerbaijani music on tour across the state of Montana, won an Award of Merit in the short film/documentary category at the La Jolla, California 2009 Accolade Film Festival Competition. APA (8/6/09)

Randy Rucker, professor in the Department of Agricultura Economics and Economics, had an op-ed published in The Seattle Times. In the article he analyzes the economic and environmental impacts of the City of Seattle's proposed bag tax. The Seattle Times (8/4/09)

New West
published a nice article about Jack Horner, Regent's Professor of Paleontology in
Earth Sciences, and several graduate students in Earth Sciences. New West (8/2/09)

The June 2009 cover of the Journal of Virology features a photograph of the unusual effects on a cell infected by a virus. Montana State University researchers Mark Young (Plant Sciences & Plant Pathology) and Trevor Douglas (Chemistry & Biochemistry) were the first to view the virus, which they collected from a boiling, acidic spring in Yellowstone. ScienceBlog (7/17/09), Science Codex (7/17/09)

Scott Creel, an ecology professor, is the lead author of a study that recently appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study found that elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are starving due to fear of wolves and are not being killed by them. The elk are eating in forested areas where they are safer. This browsing on woody shrubs or low tree branches provides good quality food, but the elk are taking in 27 percent less food than elk that graze in open meadows in areas without wolves. Billings Gazette (7/16/09), United Press International (7/19/09), L.A. Times (10/22/09)

Frankie Jackson, a research scientist in the Department of Earth Sciences, was quoated regarding the discovery of a 75-million-year-old turtle fossil uncovered in southern Utah with a clutch of eggs inside, making it the first prehistoric pregnant turtle found in the United States. USA Today (5/8/09), MSU News (4/15/09)

Tim Fitzgerald, a professor in the Department of Economics and Agricultural Economics, discussed the ownership of horses in the new economy. He estimates that the cost of maintaining one horse in Montana is typically $700 a year when owners have large acreages, $1,060 a year on small acreages and $1,575 a year when a horse is stabled. That includes feed, veterinary costs and services. Add in fixed costs, rent and monthly boarding costs, and the cost rises to $1,900 per horse per year for large acreages, $2,260 a year for small acreages and $2,775 a year for stabled horses. Tri-State Livestock News (5/5/09)

David Large, an emeritus professor of history, presented a talk titled The Ugliest Border: Berlin and its Wall During the Cold War and Beyond, at Western Washington University to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In his presentation, Large traced the history of the wall from its construction which began on Aug. 13, 1961 to its fall on Nov. 9, 1989. The Western Front (4/27/09)

Wendy Stock, professor and department chair in the Department of Economics and Agricultural Economics, was quoted in an article about the demand for people with Ph.D.s in Economics. She also points to the growing trend of interdisciplinary programs which include economics. Finally, Dr. Stock discusses the challenges facing U.S. students going straight into a Ph.D. program after completing their undergraduate education. U.S. News and World Report (4/22/09)

Climatologist Philip Higuera and his colleagues have found that climate change is a less important factor than vegetation changes when it comes to the frequency of wildfires. According to sediment samples taken from lake beds in northern Alaska, despite very dry periods in climate history, wildfire frequency decreased sharply. Universe Today (4/21/09), Science Daily (4/22/09), MSU News (4/27/09)

Paleontologist Jack Horner is involved in researching whether its possible to build, or grow, a real dinosaur, without finding ancient DNA, by biochemically manipulating a chicken embryo. This research is detailed in Horner's new book, How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn't Have to Be Forever. Discover (3/27/09), New York Times (4/14/09)

David Varricchio (Earth Sciences) was part of a team that discovered a herd of ornithomimid dinosaur (Sinornithomimus dongi) that died when they became mired in mud on the margins of a lake about 90 million years ago in the Gobi Desert in western Inner Mongolia.he herd suggests that immature individuals were left to fend for themselves when adults were preoccupied, perhaps with nesting or brooding. MSNBC (3/16/09), Scientific American (3/16/09)

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