National Geographic : 1993 Jan
On Assignment Bringing 165 million years of extinct creatures to life was an assignment free-lance photographer LOUIE PSIHOYOS took in stride. From Pittsburgh's Carne gie Museum of Natural History, where he stepped into the frame with skeletons of an Apatosaurus and a modern Homo sapiens, to the farthest reaches of Mongolia, Louie pursued dinosaurs for a year and a half with single-mindedness, a sense of humor, and enough black velvet backdrops to cover a football field. "Dinosaurs were the dominant form of life on the planet for 500 times longer than humans have been around," he notes. "I was sprinting around the world just trying to get bits and pieces of the picture." A great disappointment occurred in Alberta, Canada, where a coal strip mine had exposed a cliff cov ered with thousands of perfectly preserved dinosaur footprints. Louie decided to wait a day to photograph them in better light. "I thought I had the luxury of time. Those tracks had been there for 110 million years. What was one more day?" But the next morning he found the cliff had collapsed, destroying the tracks. "Fossils are a great testament to time, but I learned they're very fragile." Senior Assistant Editor RICK GORE-here in the Smithsonian Institution's fossil collection, which includes a turtle that coexisted with dinosaurs-remembers better tim ing. On a three-day visit to Argen tina to check on paleontologist Paul Sereno's excavation, Rick witnessed the discovery of a lifetime-the most primitive dinosaur known, a new species that Sereno calls "Eoraptor." "I felt luckier than Sereno, and he considers himself a lucky guy." Rick appreciates the persistence of scientists. He studied science journalism at Northwestern Univer sity and took his master's degree to New York to write for the science department of Life. He also worked with the staff that created People magazine. Since joining our staff in 1974, he has written 33 articles. In his spare time Rick writes musicals. Working on lyrics reminds him of doing picture captions: "Since you have very little space, you have to be extremely economi cal, anditallhastoaddupto something in the end." NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC (ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLY BY THENATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,17THANDM STS. N.W ., WASHINGTON,D. C. 20036. $21.00 A YEAR,$2.65 A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGEPAID AT WASHINGTON,D. C., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SEND ADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O. BOX 2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.