University of Louisville Magazine

SUMMER 2013

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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PREHISTORIC PASSION MEDICAL SCHOOL PROFESSOR BRINGS WORLD-CLASS RESEARCH TO THE CLASSROOM Guillermo Rougier turned a fascination with early life on Earth into a robust career that's bringing new perspectives to budding physicians. The ancient creatures that made up our world eons ago still hold our fascination today. We marvel at their reconstructed fossils in museums, take in movies like "Ice Age" and "The Land Before Time," and decorate our children's rooms with wallpaper and bedding featuring the well-known Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus. The appeal for many of us is cursory or fleeting, but for Guillermo Rougier it's a passion that has encompassed his life and career. Rougier is a professor in the Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology at the School of Medicine. In the classroom, he teaches gross anatomy, a first-year course that correlates the human body's structure to its functions. But for nearly five months each year, he traverses the planet from Mongolia to Patagonia, uncovering the fossilized remains of creatures that roamed the planet 65 million years ago or more. Rougier's thirst to learn about Earth's early history began when he was a boy in Argentina. "When I was five or six years old, I really wanted to be a paleontologist. Back then fossils were basically unknown. There were no books about dinosaurs. There were no books about woolly mammoths. "Jurassic Park" was still many years in the future," he said. While the desire stayed with Rougier through his childhood, it wasn't until he was 12 years old that he received his first serious book on fossils as a gift from an uncle who worked at a local university. From that point on, Rougier absorbed everything he could learn about paleontology. "I remember going to the library and looking at encyclopedias and finding a name of a dinosaur, like Tyrannosaurus. I always felt a sense of wonder with regard to a past for which we had very little knowledge. Like any kid, it was an issue related to my imagination." At 16, Rougier volunteered at the Department of Paleontology at the Museo Histórico Nacional in Buenos Aires, where he was given the opportunity to go into the field for the first time. It was here that his imagination came alive, helping scientists and researchers dig in the field to search for dinosaur fossils. Rougier's education took him to Universidad de Buenos Aires, where he studied biology with a specialization in paleontology. After earning his PhD SUMMER UOFL MAGAZINE| 3 9

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