A celebrated paleontologist renowned for his work in the field died on Monday while working at an excavation site in Colorado.
Mike Getty, chief fossil preparator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, died after contracting an 'unexpected' illness while 'working on the triceratops excavation in Thornton,' according to The Denver Post.
The nature of Getty's illness remains unknown, but the Denver Museum of Nature & Science said that it was not related to an accident at the evacuation site.
Mike Getty talks to the crowd and reporters after exposing the post orbital horn of the Triceratops fossil that was found in Thornton
Getty, the chief preparator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, presents a casing of a fossil that was found in Thornton
Getty shown sawing into the protective jacket to expose the of the Triceratops fossil discovered on September 8, 2017
Notable Mike Getty Discoveries and Achievements
- Senior faculty member at the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City
- Chief fossil preparator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
- In 2002, Getty discovers Hagryphus giganteus, a seven-foot carnivorous dinosaur with feathers
-In 2010, Getty make a discovery in Utah and has dinosaur named after him called Utahceratops gettyi
- Getty contributes to new discovery of Triceratops skeleton in Thorton, Colorado last week
'The museum takes the health and safety of its staff, volunteers and guests very seriously. All emergency management and safety protocols were followed in accordance with best practices,' the museum said in a statement.
Getty, 50, grew up in Western Canada and showed an exuberance for paleontology from an early age.
Colleagues described Getty as man with a peculiar charm and love of life that attracted people towards him, what friends called the 'Getty sphere.'
'He was a character in every sense of the word,' said Andrew Farke, a paleontologist in Claremont, California who had known the late scientist since 2003.
'He was quirky, he had a personality and he was one of those people… it's really hard to imagine that he's gone now.'
Mike Getty, chief preparator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, exposing the post orbital horn of the Triceratops fossil that was found in Thornton
Getty gives Saunders Construction Inc. founder and chair Dick Saunders a close look after exposing the post orbital horn of the Triceratops fossil that was found in Thornton
Celebrated fossil hunter Mike Getty died unexpectedly on Monday at excavation site in Colorado
Getty, 50, fell ill of unknown ailment while digging in Thorton, which was unrelated to the excavation
The scientist was praised for his work ethic and dedication and fondly remembered for his unique and 'quirky' personality
The energetic excavator also traversed the world searching for fossils, working in Argentina, Madagascar, Canada and across the western United States, to name a few locations, Farke said.
Getty, whose tireless work ethic and dedication was an inspiration to many, also garnered a reputation for having an extraordinary sense at excavation sites.
'He could tell you if it's something that has already been found before and how this is adding to our understanding of that animal or if it was new,' Sarah George, executive director of the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City, told the Denver Post.
Before his death, Getty led 'one of the largest field teams in the country in their ambitious pursuit to understand ancient life through fossils,' his staff biography notes.
Fortunately, the Getty name will live on in posterity, when colleagues named a dinosaur after him called Utahceratops gettyi after he discovered its remains in Utah in 2010.
Colleagues named a dinosaur after him called Utahceratops gettyi when he discovered its remains in Utah in 2010