Norwegian scientist snags National Geographic prize

A top palaeontologist from Norway has been recognised by National Geographic’s ‘Emerging Explorers’ prize.

The US-based science agency said that Jorn Hurum, the head of palaeontology at the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo, was recognised due to his achievements in the discovery of prehistoric water-dwelling reptiles.

Hurum, who made the discovery on the Svalbard islands north of the Arctic Circle, is the first person from Norway to earn the recognition, and only the 14th person making the list this year. Along with the recognition, he was given USD 10,000 in prize money to fund further research and new expeditions.

Mr Hurum has organised and led six successful Arctic expeditions, and experts say his discoveries from Svalbard have unlocked evolutionary secrets, uncovered never-before-seen species as well as a whole marine-based ecosystem that was previously unknown to scientists. Among specimens collected, which consist of everything from algae to enormous reptiles, one Hurum expedition rendered a 15-metre Pliosaurus, the largest ever found.

The Norwegian palaeontology expert is also an adjunct faculty member at UNIS and at Svalbard Museum. He and his team are planning another expedition late in the summer; it will be the seventh venture to Janusfjellet.

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