Discoverer of Dinosaurs in San Diego:
The one person who is clearly most responsible for finding and collecting dinosaurs in San Diego County is Brad Riney of the Museum's Department of Paleontology. Brad made his first discovery while a junior high school student in 1967. He was prospecting for fossils in the sea cliffs of La Jolla when he found what turned out to be a partial vertebra to a duckbilled dinosaur. This was the first discovery of dinosaurs in our area. Since then Brad has collected thousands of very significant fossils, including dinosaurs.
Brad's incredible skill at finding fossils in the field is matched by his keen ability to interpret the geologic rock layers that preserve these ancient remains. This geologic way of seeing the world provides information that is critical to gaining a complete understanding of the paleoenvironments that were present when a particular fossil species was alive.
Brad's abilities are not confined to the field, as he is also an excellent fossil preparator. He prepared the armored dinosaur skeleton currently on display in the Museum and has prepared hundreds of other fossils including whale skeletons and skeletons of early mammals.
Brad provides illustrations for the Museum's education and exhibits departments, as well as the website. His drawing of the hypothetical reconstruction of the Carlsbad nodosaur depicts one of California's rare dinosaur finds. Brad has traced the geologic history of the area around the museum through a set of five drawings starting four million years ago. His diagram of the San Diego Formation shows why fossils from our construction excavation differed from the Clams of Champions found nearby. (12/99)
Credits: Tom Deméré, Ph.D., SDNHM Curator of Paleontology
Photo of Brad with hadrosaur vertebra he found as a teenager, by Judy Gibson 1997