Murie Audubon General Meeting & Program


Triceratops, Sauropods and T-Rexs, Oh My! Or Why Wyoming was such a good place for Dinosaurs.

JP Cavigelli returns for our first program of this season. Jean-Pierre Cavigelli (JP) is Prep Lab Manager, Field Trip Organizer and Collections Manager at the Tate Geological Museum in Casper, Wyoming. A graduate of Lexington High School (Massachusetts, class of 1979) and with a biology degree from the University of Chicago (class of 1983), JP became interested in paleontology too late to get a degree in it. This led him to a summer spent in Wyoming in 1983 doing field work in search of small Cretaceous mammal teeth with a University of Wyoming team. JP fell in love with Wyoming but left for a five year adventure in fun and poverty as a ski bum and whitewater rafting guide in Colorado and Australia. JP came back to Wyoming in 1990 to be part of a paleontology field crew at the UW again. He stayed in Laramie working off and on in paleontology for 14 years, doing field work as well as a two year post as the Collections Manager for the UWs Dept. of Geology and Geophysics. He also was a fossil outfitter, running Western Paleo Safaris for six years. For the past 25 years, JP has been doing freelance fossil preparation in his basement and garage. He has had the good fortune of having been invited to join paleontological expeditions to Mongolia, Niger, Tanzania, Alaska and North Dakota. In his 15 years at the Tate Geological Museum he has led collecting trips all over the state to collect small and large fossils from Dee the Mammoth and Lee Rex to microscopic mammal teeth (see above) and really old insects.

When he is not involved with fossils, JP enjoys birdwatching, traveling, and failing to get on Jeopardy!. He recently got married to his percalifragilisticexpialidocious wife Becky, and can smell retirement from his office door. Wyoming is synonymous with dinosaurs to a lot of folks who give a hoot about dinosaurs. The American west was critical in the discovery and popularization of dinosaurs starting in the early 20th century. But have you ever stopped to ponder why? Why Wyoming? (I could ask Why Montana, but that doesn’t rhyme and we don’t care about Montana). JP will talk about why WY and more from a paleontology point of view. Program Chair note: I suspect that JP didn’t think that I would publish his total biography, but it reflects his personality, professionalism and why we enjoy having him back often as a guest speaker.

Remember folks, we’re moving to the 2nd Thursday of the month, but at the same venue. Please join us on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2021 at 7 pm at the Izaak Walton Clubhouse at 4205 Fort Caspar Road for this program. As always, the program is free and open to the public! Hope to see you there!

Bruce Walgren-Program Chair