The longer you live in Alaska, the more you realize you’ve only scratched the surface of what there is to know about our state, especially when it comes to science and nature.

This week on Frontiers, we explore Alaska’s “paleo” past. From dinosaurs to giant sea reptiles to ammonites, the ancient cousin of the today’s Nautilus, we’ll travel back in time to get a picture of what life was like in Alaska more than 70 million years ago.

Here are some of this week’s highlights:

  • Dinosaur detective: A talk with Tony Fiorillo, who travels to Alaska every summer in search of dinosaur tracks and other signs of ancient life. Fiorillo works for the Perot Museum in Dallas and has made some exciting discoveries in Alaska. Over the past three decades, his fieldwork has taken him to the North Slope, Denali National Park and the Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve. Find out why Fiorillo believes there are many more discoveries to be made.
  • When art meets science: a look at the work of James Havens, an Anchorage artist who thinks big. Really big. His paintings of dinosaurs and sea monsters are on giant canvases, to help us get a sense of just how huge these creatures really were. He’ll explain how he uses the fossil record to be as accurate as possible, but how sometimes he has to use his imagination to fill in the gaps.
  • Alaska Museum of Science and Nature: money troubles forced the museum closed about two years ago. This Mountain View gem has since reopened with a new family-friendly plan to keep it afloat.
  • Cruisin’ the fossil freeway: It’s dinosaur heaven at the Anchorage Museum. Our guest, Angela Demma, talks about one of the popular exhibits this summer, a collaboration between Ray Troll, a Ketchikan Artist -- and Kirk Johnson, a Smithsonian scientist -- two friends who went on a 250-day road trip in search of fossils and their stories. The end result is both entertaining and informative.

Also in this week’s show, we’ll hear about pingos, those mysterious hills on the tundra.

Whether it was 70 million years ago or just yesterday, never a dull moment in Alaska. Hope this episode of Frontiers whets your appetite for adventure.

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