Adam Stuart Smith
University College Dublin
I am a Ph.D. researcher in vertebrate palaeontology at UCD in Ireland. I moved here after studying palaeobiology in the UK. I study extinct marine reptiles – an eclectic bunch often wrongly regarded as ‘swimming-dinosaurs ‘– I prefer the term ‘sea-dragons’. In particular I study plesiosaurs, a group of reptiles with four flippers and often a very long neck. This is a little ironic because no plesiosaur fossils are known from Ireland and all of the specimens I study in the National Museum of Ireland are from outside Ireland.
My main aim is to understand how these animals are related to each other – I want to know their family tree. I run the website The Plesiosaur Directory:, all about these mysterious animals. In addition I am also a ‘palaeoartist’ who draws restorations of prehistoric animals for magazines and museums, and I also enjoy a good palaeontology excavation (I spent last Summer in Montana digging dinosaurs).
The plesiosaur in the picture is called Rhomaleosaurus and it is one of the specimens housed here in Ireland.