RSU Professor’s Lecture at Dinosaur Symposium a ‘Roaring’ Success

Man giving speech at podium. Man reading book. Hand holding dinosaur tooth.
Shelton reads a copy of “Dinosaurs are Collectible: Digging for Dinosaurs: The Art, the Science,” by Koen Stein, who served as Shelton’s host during his recent stay in Belgium.

Shelton reads a copy of “Dinosaurs are Collectible: Digging for Dinosaurs: The Art, the Science,” by Koen Stein, who served as Shelton’s host during his recent stay in Belgium.

Fossils are the remains of plants, animals and other creatures that have been replaced by rock material or impressions of organisms preserved in rock.

Something else that left an impression was RSU Professor Dr. Chris Shelton.

Shelton, who teaches earth science courses exploring prehistoric life, recently spent three weeks in Belgium, during which he served as keynote speaker at the “Dinosaurs on Campus” conference in Brussels, speaking before more than 150 event attendees regarding one of his favorite creatures from the Permian Period, the Dimetrodon.

“Overall, my address was very well received. I spoke a little longer than I’d planned on, but I had a lot of subject matter to cover, and the audience was very receptive,” Shelton said. “Afterwards, we had a question-and-answer session, which was interesting because some of the questions were asked in Dutch, but it was a great experience and I was very glad to be a part of the conference.”

Outside of the conference, Shelton made the most of his visit, indulging his love of paleontology.

“I managed to do a lot of touring while I was there. I spent quite a bit of time at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels, which has the largest dinosaur gallery in Europe,” he said. “I also visited a cool private osteology collection, a cemetery in Hoboken, Antwerp (in the Flemish Region of Belgium) and had the chance to go fossil hunting on one of the beaches, where I found several shark teeth and fossil crabs, which I’d never found before, so that was very exciting for me.

“Also, my host and colleague Dr. Koen Stein uncovered a very rare mammoth tooth from the sand,” he added.

Shelton said he plans to incorporate many of the fossils he brought back from Brussels, including a Megalodon tooth fragment and a skull fragment replica, into his classroom teaching.

His earth sciences courses at RSU explore prehistoric life and its evolution through geologic time. The combination of geology and biology – known as Paleohistory – unlocks evolutionary knowledge by investigating bone microstructures. His research and travels in countries around the world allow him a unique perspective based on his real-world experience that students couldn’t otherwise get from the reading of a textbook.

Dr. Shelton holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Midwestern State University, a master’s degree in biology from Midwestern State University and a doctorate in vertebrate paleontology/paleohistory from the University of Bonn in Germany. He has served as the geology chair for the Oklahoma Academy of Science. He is also an honorary Research Associate of the New Jersey State Museum’s Natural History Department.

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Dr. Shelton’s lecture is available to view on the Belgian Paleontological website at