Brandon Theurer

3MT 2024 Finalist Brandon Theurer

Biological Sciences, Natural + Applied Sciences

Thesis: Legs? They Don’t Need Those!

Introduce yourself:

I am a master’s student studying dinosaurs with Dr. Corwin Sullivan. My wife and I moved to Canada from the US for my graduate schooling after I completed my undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University. I have loved dinosaurs ever since I was a child and continue to be fascinated by these amazing animals! In addition to my schooling, my wife and I teach ballroom dance at a studio in the city.

What are you researching and what do you hope comes out of your research?

I am studying the leg and pelvis of ceratopsid dinosaurs, the group of dinosaurs like Triceratops. For years, the study of ceratopsid dinosaurs has focused almost exclusively on the skull, so I hope to find unique aspects of the leg and pelvis that can help us identify species and better understand how these dinosaurs evolved.

How does presenting a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) help you to explain your research to the public?

Whenever I talk about my research with my friends or family, my wife often has to explain many of the terms that I am using. I am so used to these technical terms that I forget most people don’t know what tarsals, greater trochanters, phylogenetic analyses, and non-ceratopsid ceratopsians are! Presenting a 3MT helps me to find more understandable words to use so that eyes don’t glaze over as I talk with people.

What inspires you to do research?

As someone who has loved dinosaurs ever since I was a child, I love the opportunity to learn more about these amazing creatures that once walked our planet. I enjoy the thrill of forming a question that has never been addressed and being the first one to find the answer. In short, I just love learning about dinosaurs!

What are three key words important to your 3MT?

Ceratopsid dinosaur, leg, pelvis.

How does your research impact local, provincial, or global communities?

Ceratopsid dinosaurs are studied by paleontologists around the world. My research will help to influence the questions asked and studied by those paleontologists. But researchers are not the only ones around the world interested in dinosaurs. Many people are fascinated by these ancient animals. My research will help expand the knowledge available to all dinosaur fans, both researchers and enthusiasts alike.

If you had to dedicate your research to anyone from the past, present, or future, who would it be and why?

I would dedicate my research to my family, in particular to my wife and my son. From moving with me to Canada for my graduate studies, to letting me bounce ideas off her, my wife has been a source of strength and inspiration during my studies. I am truly grateful for her love and support. My son is one of the bright spots of my life and fills days with smiles and laughter!

Brandon Theurer – Legs? They Don’t Need Those!

Watch Brandon's Three Minute Thesis