Paleontologist Joel Hutson ’02 hopes to pay forward the inspiration

Joel Hutson '02 with Ceratosaurus Carnotaurus at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum of Kenosha

Joel Hutson ’02 with Ceratosaurus Carnotaurus at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum of Kenosha, Wisc.

Kalamazoo College alumnus Joel Hutson ’02 was quoted in the July 15, 2015 issue of popular scientific magazine Scientific American about dinosaur research that he and his wife, Kelda Hutson (Colgate University ’02), published in the March 2015 issue of Journal of Zoology.

Joel is a biologist who did research in the Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, Ill. He and Kelda, a geologist in the Department of Earth Science, College of Lake County, in Grayslake, Ill., compared the forelimb mechanics of alligators with fossils from Postosuchus — a relative of early dinosaurs and present day alligators and crocodiles to learn more about joint mobility. All dinosaurs once pranced, strolled or lumbered about on two legs, but over time many evolved into quadrupeds. The Hutsons’ research illustrates how dinosaurs may have made the transition from two-legged to four-legged mobility.

Their journal article is titled “Inferring the prevalence and function of finger hyperextension in Archosauria from finger-joint range of motion in the American alligator.” Joel said: “I was inspired to study dinosaurs because of Jeff Wilson ’91 who was featured in Kalamazoo College news when I was a biology student at K.” Wilson is a paleontologist at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and has visited the K campus to speak to students and faculty about his work.

Joel said he hopes also to “inspire a future generation of paleontologists at Kalamazoo College.”

The Hutsons’ Journal of Zoology article and Scientific American interview will be available free online after an embargo.

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