India against sky, 1985
Alice the allosaurus rules the dinosaur hall at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
My allosaurus at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Read about The Dinosaur’s Daughter.

The book is my memoir of digging up a famous dinosaur as a young woman and discovering myself in the process.

I’ve lived several career lives so far, and the first one started early, with an allosaurus I found as a lonely 12-year-old girl on a Colorado ranch. I named her Alice, after the Little Feat song, “Dallas Alice.” I dug her up on my own for three years with no scientific training, just ice picks, screwdrivers, and library books.

Then I took a few allosaurus bones to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and my official paleontology career began. They hired me to help dig up the allosaurus for two summers with an alcoholic boss and his hot and capable teenage son. I got my own grants after that to return to the site and excavate rare Upper Jurassic mammals, lizards, frogs, salamanders, and fish. Several specimens are at Harvard. Then 20 years old, I had made my mark in paleontology. I left.

My towering Allosaurus fragilis now rules the dinosaur hall at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, inspiring 1.7 million visitors per year. Alice is known as one of the “coolest” and “most dynamic” dinosaur exhibits worldwide.