Dean R. Lomax is a multi-award-winning paleontologist, author and science communicator.

Why you should listen

Dean R. Lomax travels across the world, excavating and researching dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, discovering and naming new species, and regularly appears on TV as an expert and presenter.

Lomax was one of those children who was fascinated with dinosaurs and always wanted to be a paleontologist. However, his career is far from traditional. Growing up in Doncaster, England, he struggled academically and even failed science in high school. Not having the qualifications or the finances to go on to university, he never lost sight of his goal. In 2008, at the age of 18, he sold many of his possessions, including his childhood collection of Star Wars action figures to travel to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center to gain experience and immerse himself in the paleontology community. Returning home, Lomax continued to build on the knowledge and experience he had gained by conducting research, writing about his discoveries and learning everything there was to know about ichthyosaurs, in which he would come to specialize.

A leading world expert on ichthyosaurs (extinct marine reptiles), he has studied thousands of fossils, discovered five new species and led the excavation of the ‘Rutland Sea Dragon’ in 2021, a 10-meter-long giant ichthyosaur considered one of the greatest finds in British paleontological history. Despite never doing an undergraduate degree, Lomax completed a Masters and a PhD at the University of Manchester, where he is currently a Visiting Scientist.

In just over a decade of working in the field, he has published more than 50 academic papers, written more than 10 books, co-hosted TV shows and led major excavations. His most recent book, Locked in Time, examines some of the most astonishing fossils ever found, each of which offers an unprecedented glimpse at the real-life behaviors of prehistoric animals.

Check out his talk about his unorthodox path to success.

Dean Lomax’s TED talk