ExplorersBio

Nizar Ibrahim

Paleontologist

Emerging Explorer

Picture of Nizar Ibrahim at Gara Sbaa

Photograph by Robert Loveridge

Picture of Nizar Ibrahim

Photograph by Robert Loveridge

German/Moroccan paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim, a postdoctoral scholar in vertebrate anatomy and paleontology at the University of Chicago, scours the deserts of North Africa for clues to life in the Cretaceous period, when the area was a large river system teeming with a profusion of diverse life. In addition to unearthing many huge dinosaur bones, he has discovered fossil footprints and a new species of flying reptile with an 18-foot wingspan that lived 95 million years ago. His upcoming paper describing the ecosystem of what is now Morocco's Sahara Desert in the mid-Cretaceous period will be a milestone, providing the most detailed account of the diversity, paleoecology, and geologic context of fossil vertebrates from North Africa. His description is especially important, since northern Africa and the mid-Cretaceous period are underexplored and underrepresented in paleontology. "We found an entire lost world; a window on a moment of major evolutionary change," he says.

In Their Words

Paleontology is like detective work. It’s amazing to piece together clues and re-create a hundred-million-year-old landscape where gigantic predators flourished and enormous evolutionary changes unfolded.

—Nizar Ibrahim

Meet Our Paleontologists

  • Photo: Paul Sereno

    Paul Sereno, Paleontologist

    Paul Sereno earned a doctorate in geology at Columbia University and joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1987.

Our Explorers in Action

See Photos »

Meet All Our Explorers

  • NationalGeographic_1289095-flag.jpg

    Explorers A-Z

    At the heart of our explorers program is the quest for knowledge through exploration and the people who make it possible.

  • Photo: Michael Lombardi diving

    Explorers by Category

    Browse our different areas of exploration and discover the fascinating people behind the projects.