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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Department of Paleobiology

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  • Michael K. Brett-Surman
  • Collections Management
  • Phone:   202-633-1311
  • Fax:   202-786-2832
  • E-mail Address:   brettsur
  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 121
    Washington, DC 20013-7012
  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0121
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Education

Ph.D. George Washington University
M.A. University of California, Berkeley
B.A. University of Colorado

Research Interests

Dr. Brett-Surman is the Museum Specialist for Dinosaurs and other Fossil Reptiles at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution, and Emeritus Associate Professorial Lecturer at the George Washington University in the Geology Department, where he taught from 1980 to 2003. As an educator, he was one of the first professional dinosaur paleontologists to teach an upper division undergraduate course just on dinosaurs as a method to cure “science phobia” in students AND adults.

In the 1980's he became the first Smithsonian employee in history to do a Ph.D. dissertation on dinosaurs, and is one of the world’s 140 professional dinosaur paleontologists.  He has also served as the Treasurer, Secretary, and Vice-President of the Paleontological Society of Washington.  In the summers of 1993 and 1994, Michael was the co-leader of the first Smithsonian Dinosaur Expedition since 1938. His field work has included work on Jurassic dinosaur sites, eggshell nesting grounds and footprint trackways in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming. His main research was on the post-cranial anatomy of Cretaceous ornithopod dinosaurs. Currently, he co-teaches a K-12 teacher re-certification field program in geology and paleontology through GeoScience Adventures.

As one of the many authors of the Smithsonian Institution's Paleobiology Internet site, he helped create the world’s first virtual tour of all the specimens in a major dinosaur hall, plus he authored the first “Bibliography of Hadrosaurian Dinosaurs.”

Dr. Brett-Surman is the co-editor of the award winning book, The Complete Dinosaur, a book through Indiana University Press, that is a leading multi-authored dinosaur book for undergraduate non-science majors. He is also a co-author, with Dr.Thomas Holtz, of another award winning book, James Gurney - The World of Dinosaurs, a book about the 32-cent U.S. Postage stamps released in 1997, plus The Jurassic Park Institute Field Guide to Dinosaurs.

As a “Smithsonian Scholar” for the Smithsonian Institution National Affiliates Program, he has given public lectures on DINOSAURS: FACT VERSUS FANTASY, and DINOSAURS FOR PARENTS, TEACHERS AND OTHER LIVING FOSSILS in over seven states, often to standing-room-only crowds.

As a consultant, he was a lead "dinosource" for the earlier books in the famous book series DINOTOPIA.  He has also reviewed books and magazine articles as a scientific consultant for many publishers and was the first senior reviewer for DINOSAURS: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA, the largest and most complete encyclopedia on dinosaurs. He has written articles for journals in both the United States and Japan and was also a consultant for the artists whose work became the series of dinosaur postage stamps for the U.S. Post Office in 1989 and in 1997.

Michael has appeared in over fifty TV, radio, newspaper, and video/DVD productions and has consulted with professional television and film makers since 1979.  He has been quoted in over a dozen newspaper articles in several countries and was "the featured quote" in cover stories by both TIME and NEWSWEEK.

Dr. Brett-Surman has named 4 new dinosaurs for science, Secernosaurus, Gilmoreosaurus, Avisaurus, and Anatotitan.

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Publications

(* Denotes technical publications ; # denotes popular publications.)

* Brett-Surman, M.K. & Jonathan R. Wagner, 2007. Discussion of character analysis of the appendicular anatomy in Campanian and Maastrichtian North American hadrosaurids - Variation and ontogeny. Pp:135-169. In: Horns and Beaks - Ceratopsian and Ornithopod Dinosaurs, Kenneth Carpenter (Ed.), Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana.

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1975. The appendicular anatomy of hadrosaurian dinosaurs. Master’s Thesis, University of California, Berkeley, California. Pp.1-70. (not available as an e-reprint)

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1979. Phylogeny and Palaeobiogeography of Hadrosaurian Dinosaurs. Nature, 277(5697):560-562.

# Brett-Surman, M.K., 1980. The Iren Dabasu Fauna From Mongolia. Mesozoic Vertebrate Life, 1:19-22.

# Brett-Surman, M.K., 1984. Dinosaur Extinction. Anima, 134:29-33, (in Japanese).

* Brett-Surman, M.K. and Paul, G.S., 1985. A New Family of Bird-Like Dinosaurs Linking Laurasia and Gondwanaland. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 5(2):133-138.    

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1989(1988). A revision of the Hadrosauridae (Reptilia: Ornithischia) and their evolution during the Campanian and Maastrichtian. Ph.D. dissertation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.. pp.1-272. (see above for pdf download)

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1990-2001. The Natural History and Evolution of Dinosaurs - An Undergraduate Text. 112 pp. approx., Penn Press, Washington, D.C., (based on Geology 150 - George Washington University; not available as an e-reprint). 

* Chapman, R. and Brett-Surman, M.K., 1990. Morphometric Observations on Hadrosaurid Ornithopods. In, Dinosaur Systematics: Perspectives and Approaches. Currie, P. and Carpenter, K. (eds.), Cambridge University Press.

# Brett-Surman, M.K., 1991. Dinosaur Trivia Contest. Cricket Magazine, 18(6):31-34.

# Brett-Surman, M.K., 1991. Dinosaurs On Stamps. Biophilately, 1991, 4:10-19.

* Martin, Charles S., and Brett-Surman, M.K., 1992. A Preliminary Report on New Dinosaur Material from the Arundel Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of Maryland (Abst.). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 12(3):41A Suppl.

# Brett-Surman, M.K. & Glut, Donald, 1993. Main Misconceptions About Dinosaurs. Jurassic Quarterly, 1(2):4-5.

# Brett-Surman, M.K., 1993. Numerous Books Exist on Dinosaurs and Fossils. Jurassic Quarterly, 1(2):6-7.

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1994. Dinosauria in The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 1st CD-ROM edition, New York, NY.

# Brett-Surman, M.K., 1994. Digging Dinosaurs In The Original Jurassic Park (in Japanese). Kyoryugaky Saizensen (Dinosaur-Forefront), Gakken Mook Publ., N.6:28-37, Tokyo, Japan.

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1994. Who's Who. In Dinosaur Museum - Smithsonian Institution, CD-ROM software by Perspective Visuals Inc. for Software Marketing Corp., Phoenix, AZ.

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1994. Dinosaur Chronology. In Dinosaur Museum - Smithsonian Institution, CD-ROM software by Perspective Visuals Inc. for Software Marketing Corp., Phoenix, AZ.

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1994. Dinosaur Dictionary. In Dinosaur Museum - Smithsonian Institution, CD-ROM software by Perspective Visuals Inc. for Software Marketing Corp., Phoenix, AZ.

# Brett-Surman, M.K., 1995. Return To "Jurassic Park". (in Japanese), Kyoryugaky Saizensen (Dinosaur-Forefront), Gakken Mook Publ., N.12: 64-71, Tokyo, Japan.

# Brett-Surman, M.K., 1995. Dinosaur Wars, pages 154-155, in The Smithsonian - 150 Years of Adventure, Discovery, and Wonder, edited by James Conaway. Smithsonian Institution Press and Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York, 432 pages.

* Elzanowski, A. and Brett-Surman, M.K., 1996. Avian Premaxilla and Tarsometatarsus from the Uppermost Cretaceous of Montana. The Auk, 112(3): 762-767.

# Brett-Surman, M.K., 1997. Prehistoric Animals. Grolier Encyclopedia for Children. Bethel, CT.

* Farlow, J.O. and Brett-Surman, M.K. (editors), 1997. The Complete Dinosaur. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN. (Winner of the “Best In Reference” award for 1998 by the New York Public Library.)

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1997. Ornithopods. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.330-346. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1997. Dinosaurs in science fiction and fantasy: A starter guide to novels, anthologies, and pulp. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.698-700. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN. [An up to date version can be found at http://www.dinosauria.com/jdp/misc/fiction.htm]

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1997. Dinosaurs on stamps. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.703-705. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

* Brett-Surman, M.K., 1997. A chronological history of dinosaur paleontology. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.707-720. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

* Brett-Surman, M.K. and J.O. Farlow, 1997. Some irreverent thoughts about dinosaur metabolic physiology: Jurisphagous food consumption rates of Tyrannosaurus rex. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.350-351. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

* Farlow, J.O. and M.K. Brett-Surman, 1997. Dinosaurs: The terrestrial imperative. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.ix-xi. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

* Farlow, J.O. and M.K. Brett-Surman, 1997. The study of dinosaurs. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.61-63. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

* Farlow, J.O. and M.K. Brett-Surman, 1997. Biology of the dinosaurs. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.347-351. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

* Glut, D.F. and M.K. Brett-Surman, 1997. Dinosaurs and the media. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.675-706. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

* Holtz, T.R. Jr. and M.K. Brett-Surman, 1997. The Osteology of the dinosaurs. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.78-91. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

* Holtz, T.R. Jr. and M.K. Brett-Surman, 1997. The Taxonomy and systematics of the dinosaurs. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.92-106. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

* McIntosh, J.S., J.O. Farlow, and M.K. Brett-Surman, 1997. Sauropods. In J.O. Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaur, pp.264-290. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

# Brett-Surman, M.K. and T.R. Holtz Jr., 1997. James Gurney - The World of Dinosaurs. The Greenwich Workshop. Shelton, Connecticut.

* Chinnery, B.J., Lipka, T.R., Kirkland, J.I., Parrish, J.M., Brett-Surman, M.K., 1998. Neoceratopsian Teeth from the Lower to Middle Cretaceous of North America. In: Lucas, Kirkland & Estep (eds.) Lower and Middle Cretaceous Terrestrial Ecosystems, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 14:297-302.

* Brett-Surman, M.K. and Holtz, T.R., 1999. The Complete Dinosaur: A Teacher’s Guide. Indiana University  Press, Bloomington, IN.

# Brett-Surman, M.K., 2000. An introduction to collecting dinosaur trading cards. Prehistoric Times, 43:51.

* Brett-Surman, M.K., (1985)2005. Bibliography of Hadrosaurian Dinosaurs. Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History (see above for pdf download)

# Holtz, T.R. & Brett-Surman, M.K., 2001. The Jurassic Park Institute’s Field Guide To Dinosaurs. Random House, NYC, NY.

* Tanke, D.H. and Brett-Surman, M.K., 2001. Evidence of hatchling and nesting-size hadrosaurs (Reptilia: Ornithischia) from Dinosaur Provincial park (Dinosaur Park Formation: Campanian), Alberta. In: D.H. Tanke & K. Carpenter (eds.) Mesozoic Vertebrate Life, pp. 206-218.  Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.

* Brett-Surman, M.K., Jabo, S., Kroehler, P., Carrano, M., Kvale, E., 2005. A new microvertebrate assemblage from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, including mammals, theropods, and sphenodontians. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 25:3 (suppl.): 39A abstract.