Palaeontologist Michael Dawson presents Jurassic World at Event Cinemas

Michael Dawson, palaeontologist, is joining up with Hunter Wetlands to present a charity screening of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom at Event Cinemas Glendale on Friday 22nd June at 6pm. Attendees are invited to dress up in their best Jurassic costumes, with epic prizes donated by local pop culture experts Heroes and More from Wallsend. Simon Wait, owner of Heroes and More, will also be there in his one of a kind raptor costume with his handmade giant Jurassic Park gates. The Saurus Squad has also been invited and hope to present a group of inflatable t-rexs getting up to some mischief. Prior to the movie, Dawson will also be talking about some of his prehistoric casts and the stories behind the bones.

Newcastle Live was able to catch up with Speers Point resident, Michael Dawson, to find out more about his involvement.
Tell us about yourself in a few sentences.
I became interested in dinos at around 6 years old. That interest has stayed with me on and off ever since.
As for my career, I was in the N.S.W. Police Force for seven years, then a cameraman with NBN. I then joined the Newcastle Herald and Sun as a photographer for eight years. After that, I worked in the U.K. on the Daily Mirror for twelve months before returning to the Newcastle Herald. Four years after that I joined the Star Newspaper for 20 years.
Personally, I have been collecting fossils, museum quality casts and replicas for about twenty years. I don’t know how many pieces in my collection – too many to count.It seems like every generation of children falls in love with dinosaurs. Why do you think there is such a universal appeal?
All kids love dinos. They are nature’s special effects. Dinos are real dragons. That’s pretty cool!You are talking at a Jurassic World screening. What’s your take on the Jurassic franchise and what it has done for dinos?
The Jurassic franchise has made people more aware of dinos, which is great, but there are some errors as well. I suppose you could call it artistic license.How do you think things have changed for people interested in dinosaurs today, compared with people interested in dinos when you were growing up?

There is a lot more info on dinos since I was growing up. Speers Point library had two books on them. Now there are shelves full. And movies and the internet. Kids can’t avoid them and it’s great.

What has been a palaeontology highlight for you?
One of the paleo highlights for me was walking into the dino halls at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

What can people expect from your talk at the screening of Jurassic World?
The talk is called Dino Detective and will feature a “show and tell” on dinos featuring fossils and casts of the well known species with an insight to their behaviour, how they lived and why they died. Think of it as solving some prehistoric cold cases, so to speak.

What will you be bringing to the exhibition at Hunter Wetlands?
The Evolving Wetlands exhibition at the Wetlands this July school holidays will showcase fossils of prehistoric critters known to inhabit wetlands through the ages.

Why did you want to be involved with Hunter Wetlands?
I felt like my involvement would help provide a good opportunity to raise awareness of the Wetlands in an interesting way.

Finally, what is your favourite piece in your collection and why?
I think my favourite piece would be a cast of the skull of Allosaurus fragilis. It was the apex predator of the Jurassic period and you just didn’t mess with it.

Limited tickets available and must be prepurchased.

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Written by Newcastle Live

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