U professor hosts ?Dinosaur Train? show

By By Eric Lund

By Eric Lund

Move over Barney, Buddy’s in town.
Kids and parents lined up at the Utah Museum of Natural History on Saturday to meet the host of the new PBS show, “Dinosaur Train,” which features “Buddy,” an animated Tyrannosaurus rex, and a U professor.

Scott Sampson, the host of the show, is an adjunct professor of geology and served as chief curator at UMNH. He now spends all his time jumping between Hollywood and Utah, where he’s teamed up with U graduate paleontology students to announce 10 new dinosaurs found at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

“Now I get to share my passion and enthusiasm for paleontology with young children around the country, with the hope that parents and kids will explore and discover together,”

ampson said. “It was someone giving me the opportunity to experience science that got me hooked.”

Each half-hour episode includes two 11-minute animated segments, along with a live action segment that Sampson8212;or as he is known on the show, Dr. Scott8212;will host. Sampson interacts with kids during these segment

The idea came about when Craig Bartlett, creator of the children’s show “Hey Arnold!” observed his son playing with a dinosaur and a toy train.
“I wanted to create a series that would take that interest and get kids excited about life science and natural history,” Bartlett said.

But “Dinosaur Train” is more than a show about dinosaurs, Sampson said.
“Dinosaurs are used as a hook to learn about nature and spend time outside,” Sampson said. “I encourage kids at the end of each show to go outside and make their own discoveries.”

UMNH displayed clips of the show Saturday morning, as well as dinosaur fossils, tracks and teeth for the kids to explore.

“The show is cute for kids,” said Madison Cheeks, who was present at the UMNH premiere event with her son, Benjamin. “I’m excited it’s going to be a lot of fun. The show is very informative.”

Jim Henson Productions, the creators responsible for kids shows’ such as “Sesame Street” and “The Muppets,” are producing the show.

“Dinosaur Train” premiered Monday and will air 12 times a week on PBS.

Mike Mangum

Buddy the Tyrannosaurus rex greets children at the Utah Museum of Natural History to promote a PBS show called ?Dinosaur Train.?