October 31, 2020

Museum director makes cover story of the Utah State magazine

USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum director Kenneth Carpenter, made the cover photo and story of the Utah State magazine fall semester 2012. Titled “Bones to Pick,” the story was written by John Devilbiss and featured Carpenter’s life beginning with watching Godzilla in Japan when he 5 years old to becoming director and curator of paleontology at the Price museum.

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USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum director Kenneth Carpenter, made the cover photo and story of the Utah State magazine fall semester 2012. Titled “Bones to Pick,” the story was written by John Devilbiss and featured Carpenter’s life beginning with watching Godzilla in Japan when he 5 years old to becoming director and curator of paleontology at the Price museum.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Carpenter tells Devilbiss about being in a darkened theater showing the original Godzilla, King of the Monsters, with his mother. Seeing the giant lizard, plus many other bone-shattering events, eventually led Carpenter into earning a doctorate degree at the University of Colorado, Bolder, in geology.
His time line includes discovering the bones of a 225-million-year-old dinosaur in New Mexico which he named Gojirasaurus quayi, based on the Japanese name for Godzilla.
Devilbiss wrote, “from the tender age of 18 when he [Carpenter] was first published in the National Geographic School Bulletin, he has gone on to publish 233 scientific papers ranging form plates and spikes of Stegosaurus to dinosaur reproduction myths and facts, and with no sign of slowing down.”
Isolation in a rural area never crosses Carpenter’s mind. According to Divilbiss, “he is a consultant for ‘Planet Dinosaur’ and a bit of a media darling with more than 30 television appearances, including the Discovery Channel and A & E. Just hang around him long enough and you’ll see why he’s the go-to-guy for all things dinosaur and why he has come to love the area around Price where dinosaurs, of all things, really took a shine to Utah a few million years ago.”
Carpenter likes the giant dinosaur graveyards, conveniently close to the museum, because it gives him the chance to “continue research and publish findings that are gaining worldwide attention,” wrote Devilbiss.
The author wrote that Carpenter starts his days at 5 a.m. to spend hours working on manuscripts, even longer on weekends. A feat that earned him the UniBio Press Award for paleontological research. “The international award is given each year to authors who produce the most frequently accessed paper among all the journal papers published the previous year. His award-winning research focused on his study of the Allosaurus whose bones came from the nearby Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry.”
Upon reading the story, Carpenter said, “I am deeply honored to be so prominently featured. To have someone from the Price campus featured, reflects well on Eastern.”
“I am glad that the article mentioned the need for a new museum. We are bursting at the seams: literally.” On his bucket list is building a new museum. Prime property has been donated, but capital has to be raised to begin construction. “A few years ago, a crack developed in one of the museum walls showing the parking lot,” he said.
Carpenter said, “The Prehistoric Museum is an untapped resource for USU. He hopes the article should start drawing attention to us as an important resource for students and faculty.”
The Utah State magazine is published quarterly by USU Advancement in Logan.

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