Philip J. Currie: Biography
Philip John Currie, FRSC AOE (born March 13, 1949) is
a Canadian palaeontologist and museum curator who helped found the Royal
Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta and is now a professor
at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. In the 1980s he became the director
of the Canada-China Dinosaur Project, the first cooperative palaeontological
partnering between China and the West since the Central Asiatic Expeditions
in the 1920s, and helped describe some of the first feathered dinosaurs.
He is one of the primary editors of the influential Encyclopedia of
Dinosaurs, and his areas of expertise include theropods (especially
the origin of birds, and dinosaurian migration patterns and herding behavior.
He was one of the models for palaeontologist Alan Grant in the film Jurassic
Currie received his Bachelor of Science degree from
the University of Toronto in 1972, a Master of Science from McGill University
in 1975, and a Ph.D. in biology (with distinction) from the same institution
in 1981. His Masters thesis and Ph.D. thesis were on synapsids and early
aquatic diapsids respectively.
Currie became curator of earth sciences at the Provincial
Museum of Alberta (which became the Royal Alberta Museum in 2005) in Edmonton
in 1976 just as he began the Ph.D. program. Within three seasons he had
so much success at fieldwork that the province began planning a larger
museum to hold the collection. The collection became part of the Tyrrell
Museum of Palaeontology, which was completed in 1985 (the "Royal" epithet
was added in 1990), and Currie was appointed curator of dinosaurs.
In 1986, Currie became the co-director of the joint
Canada-China Dinosaur Project, with Dale Russell of the Canadian Museum
of Nature in Ottawa and Dong Zhiming of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology
and Paleoanthropology in Beijing.
In 2015, a museum entitled to Philip J. Currie, the
Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, was opened in Wembley, Alberta. The museum,
designed by Teeple Architects, celebrates one of the world’s richest dinosaur-bone
beds, Pipestone Creek.
Currie is a lifelong science-fiction fan, and fan of
the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. He is married to palaeobotanist and
palynologist Eva Koppelhus, and has three sons from a previous marriage.