¿Habla Dinosaurio? Researcher Breaks Language Barrier In New Book

May 1, 2014

The international language of science is English, but for the large number of researchers who don’t speak the language, making their work accessible to the international community can be a challenge.

Paleontologist Ken Carpenter worked with an international team to translate academic research on Mesozoic life in Mexico into English.
Paleontologist Ken Carpenter worked with an international team to translate academic research on Mesozoic life in Mexico into English.

A new book titled Dinosaurs and Other Reptiles from the Mesozoic of Mexico was edited by Utah State University Paleontologist Ken Carpenter. In the book, researchers who work across Mexico translated their work to English. Carpenter then edited the information.

“My role was primarily to take what they had written and to clean up the grammar so that it was better understood by English speakers,” Carpenter said.

The book is the first work of its kind to pull together a comprehensive record of the Mexican Mesozoic in English.

“What it deals with is various reptiles that lived during the age of dinosaurs, not just simply the dinosaurs themselves, but in the oceans there were these big marine reptiles, in the sky there were the pterodactyls and on land with lizards,” Carpenter said. “So, it’s just a snapshot of the fossil record there in Mexico.”

Carpenter says the book also includes research from smaller Spanish-language journals that are often overlooked in the English-language community.

He adds the different layout of Earth’s continents in the past means the study of certain ancient species isn’t restricted to the language borders we have today.