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Putting an Ocean Where There Wasn't One Before

Thanks to renowned SMU paleontologist Louis Jacobs, his fellow researchers and intrepid SMU students, we're learning more and more about the emergence of the South Atlantic Ocean. Piece by piece, they helped uncover an underwater world teeming with spectacular creatures. These sea monsters, if you will, offer clues to Earth's history and future.

Life in Angola’s Ancient Seas

The SMU-led research is now a major Smithsonian Institution exhibition, Sea Monsters Unearthed: Life in Angola’s Ancient Seas, which reveals pieces of the mystery that is today’s South Atlantic Ocean, created when the continents of Africa and South cracked apart millions of years ago.

“I have had the incredible opportunity and once-in-a-lifetime experience to be involved in a research project that will be seen by millions of people from around the globe.”

Myria earned a degree in geological sciences and anthropology in May and has worked in the paleontology labs since her first year at SMU.


Reagan Long ’18 is not your typical paleontologist. “I definitely had little picture books growing up with titles like How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? and If Dinosaurs Came to Town,” Reagan recalls.

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SMU Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences Louis Jacobs has spent a lifetime playing in the dirt. He’s a dinosaur hunter, traveling the world to search for remnants of the great beasts that once populated our planet.

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