Committed to the discovery and characterization of extinct forms of life, Dr. Lacovara conducts exploratory fieldwork in pursuit of species that contribute to our understanding of life on Earth.
A sought-after expert by international media outlets on issues related to science and scientific discovery, he is internationally known for his discovery of Dreadnoughtus schrani, a massive, plant-eating dinosaur that is the best example found of any of the largest creatures ever to walk the planet.
Found in Patagonia, the dinosaur weighed about 65 tons and roamed the southern tip of South America approximately 77 million years ago. His discovery was reported on by thousands of media outlets around the world.
Dr. Lacovara is a fellow of the prestigious Explorers Club, has conducted research on five continents, and is a leader in applying cutting-edge technology, such as 3D printing and computer modeling, to the study of dinosaurs.
Dr. Lacovara grew up in South Jersey and earned his bachelor’s degree in geography, with minors in biology and anthropology, from Rowan in 1984. He completed his master’s degree in coastal geomorphology at the University of Maryland College Park in 1986 and his doctorate in geology from the University of Delaware in 1998.
Dr. Lacovara presented a TED Talk lecture on Feb. 16, 2016, at the annual TED Conference in Vancouver. TED Talks are presented by some of the world’s most inspired thinkers. He presented in the “Deep Memory” session of the TED Conference. His talk has garnered more than 4 million views.
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In a six-inch bone bed on the site of the former marl pit, Dr. Lacovara leads fossil research at what many consider the best window east of the Mississippi into the Late Cretaceous Period — the heyday of the dinosaurs.
Fossils found at the site include the remains of terrifying, bus-length mosasaurs, marine crocodiles, sea turtles, boney fish, shark teeth, brachiopods, marine snails and much more.
Lacovara’s team analyzes the fossils, the sediments collected around them and the geochemistry of the site to gain a clearer picture of the period when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
Named for alumni benefactors, the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University was changed forever by their $25 million gift to transform the then-Rowan University Fossil Park into a world-class destination for scientific discovery and "citizen science."
The Edelmans’ gift was the largest ever from Rowan alumni and the second largest gift in Rowan University’s history.
For more on the Edelmans and their gift, visit rowan.edu/edelmangift.
Due to construction of our all new museum and ongoing Covid-19 considerations, the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University is not currently open to the public. We will have occasional ticketed events, but these will be of reduced size while health concerns remain. We look forward to welcoming the public to the Fossil Park when our spectacular museum opens (anticipated in May 2023) and meanwhile encourage you to follow us for exciting construction updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To join our email list, please fill out the inquiry form below. You may also email us directly at email@example.com.
Since 2012, Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, founding dean of Rowan’s School of Earth & Environment and founding director of the Fossil Park has hosted community Dig Days at the quarry in partnership with Mantua Township's Economic Development Office and the Gloucester County Board of Commissioners. The events, which typically draw more than 2,000 guests, give visitors the opportunity to search for fossils — and for Dr. Lacovara and other Rowan researchers to share the excitement of discovery with citizen scientists of all ages.
Rowan University purchased the 65-acre former Inversand marl quarry in Mantua Township, N.J., for preservation as a fossil park in 2015.
In October 2016, alumni Jean and Ric Edelman pledged $25 million to transform the then Rowan University Fossil Park into a world-class destination for scientific discovery. That gift became the springboard for work now underway to transform the Park and build a stunning new 44,000 square-foot, $73 million museum.
Rowan also thanks the Township of Mantua, County of Gloucester and state legislative leaders, whose partnership in helping preserve the former Inversand site and develop the museum will benefit students, researchers and the community for generations to come.