January 28, 2022

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“In Search of the Dinosaurs” with Federico Fanti: From Missions Around the World to the Book of Italy’s Most Famous Dinosaur Hunters

How did you discover the traces left by the dinosaurs in Canada and Great Britain? And above all, how were they in the days when dinosaurs moved undisturbed?

In the episodes of “The Dinosaur Hunter” I share years of work and discoveries on Earth. I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively and hunt for dinosaurs on almost every continent – which makes me strange to say – almost 20 years. Obviously success also depends on the people who were with me and who I always love to have by my side when I tell our stories and discoveries. Canada and Great Britain are extraordinary places that are very different today than they were in the time of the dinosaurs. Canada, which we feature in the episode that aired on Christmas, was a lush tropical paradise at the time when dinosaurs ruled North America, populated by dozens of wonderful species. A very different story from Great Britain, where fossil deposits are very scarce and tells of Europe made up of islands and archipelagos.

What makes your collaboration with National Geographic unique?

National Geographic has always tried to turn science into the most important tool for communicating with the general public and protecting the wonders of our planet. I have chosen to invest heavily in research on Earth and am sure that dinosaurs and my work can bring people of all ages closer to the research and the big questions we ask ourselves today. I’m proud to be a National Geographic explorer: I’ve always found energy, ideas, passion and above all people who truly rewrite our time.

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Your book is called “Finding the Dinosaurs”. What prompted you to write it?

To make Dinosaur Hunter documentaries, I drew inspiration from the most interesting pages in my personal history as a paleontologist. By doing so, I realized that the scientific aspect was only the tip of the iceberg in my story. There was a lack of trips, adventures, friends, failures, and almost unexpected stories that turned a 20-year-old boy into a paleontologist. So I tried to tell them in this book, I tried to share with them why today, in the year 2021, there are people who proudly answer the question “what do you do with your life”: dinosaur hunter. I was given a great opportunity by Rizzoli who accepted the challenge the first time for me: I am very curious to know what people think of the story but I am sure that in every “familiar” situation the reader will find a lot.. well, to the extreme improbable!

And above all, can reading it help us understand more about the mysterious relationship with these mythical creatures?

I am sure. Hunting for dinosaurs is a dream, a passion, and a madness that we have all experienced at least once in our lives. I have always believed that dinosaurs are first and foremost a connection between people and the planet, between people and their history, between people and science. We know it’s true, and we know they were here, on the same planet that today considers us heroes in their place. But it is hidden, incredible, mysterious. We can only understand it by seeking and studying. The hunt for dinosaurs is the search for our history.

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