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Jørn Harald Hurum was born in Drammen, a city on southeastern Norway. Since childhood he has collected fossils and minerals in the Oslo region.

Since 2000 he has been employed at the Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo where he works as an associate professor in vertebrate paleontology. At the University he teaches paleontology and evolutionary biology and supervises masters and Ph.D. students.

One recent outreach effort brought him on stage before a general audience interested in his Arctic island project excavating fossils of ancient sea monsters. “There was a four-year-old in the front row and he couldn’t stop asking questions, really good questions” Hurum remembers. “This little boy was so excited to know there was somebody else who understood the things he was wondering about. He made my whole day! As a child, I felt very alone with my interest in fossils. Finally at age 13, I discovered there was a museum in Norway that actually employed people to study paleontology. I started corresponding with those scientists and it was such a relief, such an inspiration. I hope I can give some of that spirit back to the next generation.”

Learn More About Jørn and His Work

Modern Polar Explorers on the Hunt For Ancient Sea Monsters

In 2012, the Spitsbergen Jurassic Research Group led by National Geographic Explorer Dr. Jørn Hurum finished off their final field season on Svalbard. Now, the team is planning yet another project, and are getting ready for another season on the Arctic slopes.

A Childhood Dream: Why We Go on Sea Monster Expeditions

In 2012, the Spitsbergen Jurassic Research Group led by National Geographic Explorer Dr. Jørn Hurum finished off their final field season on Svalbard. Now, the team is planning yet another project, and are getting ready for another season in the Arctic slopes of Svalbard. However, there are still specimens remaining from the last field season, and they are more spectacular than ever.

Science Goes Metal!

On May 19th, 2009, I was in the center of a media storm rarely associated with scientific finds when we announced the news of the fossil Darwinius masillae, which became world famous under the name Ida. Five years later, I was connected by a common acquaintance to a fellow paleontologist, Achim Reisdorf. In 2013, the…

A New Season for Superglue in the Sea Monster Lab

A new update from the Sea Monster lab in the basement of the Geological Museum in Oslo, Norway, where the specimens of last summer are about finished and new ones are to be cracked open!

Sea Monsters 2013: Death of a Summer Blog

After months of careful fossil preparations, drastic measures are taken to move a specimen, and your friendly neighborhood bloggers return to their studies… for the time being.

SVPCA – the Paleontology Super Bowl

In 2012, the Spitsbergen Jurassic Research Group led by National Geographic Explorer Dr. Jørn Hurum finished off their final field season on Svalbard. After eight consecutive years, the project of locating and excavating marine reptiles from the Upper Jurassic has been a success. Nevertheless, the team is not as dead as the reptiles. Down in…

Kids’ Art Arrives to Brighten Up the Sea Monster Lab

One of the unforeseen benefits of blogging about our research? Visitors who show up with hand-made art to decorate our walls!

Rebuilding a Real Loch Ness Monster–“Gully” the Plesiosaur

See for yourself the pains-taking process of freeing fossils from the rock that has held them for tens of millions of years.

Why Sea Monsters Depend on Toilet Paper

In 2012, the Spitsbergen Jurassic Research Group led by National Geographic Explorer Dr. Jørn Hurum finished off their final field season on Svalbard. Down in the dark basement of the Geological Museum there is a laboratory, where all the prehistoric sea monsters from Svalbard are brought back to life. Believe it or not, toilet paper and sea monster excavation and preparation go hand in hand. Curious? Well here is the explanation.

D.I.Y. in the Sea Monster Lab

The formidable Triforce Sea Monster Preparator Team in the basement of the Geological Musuem in Oslo, decided to take a day off to do some good old D.I.Y. to make their lab more homely.

Excavating Gully, a Real-Life Loch Ness Monster

Now to the second sea monster of the summer, “Gully” the gigantic plesiosaur. An animal so large, that it took two field seasons to excavate. How long do you think it will take to prepare such a beast?

A Headache of a Sea Monster Skull

It is finally time to start on part of the summer’s big project, preparing the ichthyosaur “Mikkel”. We jump into the deep-end and start with the skull. Ichthyosaurs, being reptiles and a more ancient family of vertebrates than us humans, have several more bones in their skulls.

Life in the Sea Monster Lab – Bones & Dubstep

The team has some pretty ambition goals for releasing fossils from their stony tombs this summer. Discover their unconventional methods for getting the job done.

How to Pull a Sea Monster Out of a Rock

In 2012, the Spitsbergen Jurassic Research Group led by National Geographic Explorer Dr. Jørn Hurum finished off their final field season on Svalbard. After eight consecutive years, the project of locating and excavating marine reptiles from the Upper Jurassic has been a success. Nevertheless, the team is not as dead as the reptiles. Down in the dark…

Summer of Sea Monsters

In 2012, the Spitsbergen Jurassic Research Group led by National Geographic Explorer Dr. Jørn Hurum finished off their final field season on Svalbard. After eight consecutive years, the project of locating and excavating marine reptiles from the Upper Jurassic has been a success. Nevertheless, the team is not as dead as the reptiles. Down in the dark…