URI paleontologist to be featured in Animal Planet program ‘Animal Armageddon,’ Feb. 26 and Mar. 5

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KINGSTON, R.I. – February 23, 2009 – David E. Fastovsky, a paleontologist and professor of geosciences at the University of Rhode Island, will be a featured expert in two episodes of the Animal Planet mini-series ‘Animal Armageddon’ on Feb. 26 and Mar. 5. Both episodes air at 9 p.m.

The series traces the evolution of animals on Earth and the disasters that led to mass extinctions.

“From a cosmic gamma ray burst bombarding the atmosphere, triggering the very first mass extinction, to an asteroid the size of Mount Everest slamming into the Yucatan, killing off the dinosaurs, these terrible natural events caused unparalleled devastation,” says the Animal Planet website describing the program.

A resident of Wakefield, Fastovky and URI graduate student Rachel Grandpre of Waterbury, Conn., were flown by the Animal Planet production company, Digital Ranch, to Montana last August for a week of filming. Fastovsky was also interviewed in a studio in Los Angeles last fall.

Fastovsky is a leading expert on the causes of the mass extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. He has conducted field research at fossil sites in Arizona, Mongolia, Mexico, Arizona and the Great Plains states. He teaches courses in evolution, dinosaurs, Earth history, and other topics. The URI professor earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Reed College, a master’s in paleontology from the University of California-Berkeley, and a doctorate in sedimentary geology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.