Phaeton's Chief Paleontologist has has discovered and described (or co-described) three new dinosaur species and is currently working on describing several more. He has traveled on expeditions to remote locations in Mongolia, Africa, and South America, both as an expedition leader and as a specialist on teams led by the well-known dinosaur authorities Philip Currie and Paul Sereno.
In addition to publishing extensively in professional books and journals, Michael has also devoted years to helping the public understand his work: not just dinosaurs but also the field work that it takes to recover and study them. His combination of scientific accomplishment and effective public outreach serves as an example of the Phaeton ideal.
Michael Ryan is a Canadian who grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, home to the Canadian Museum of Nature and Canada’s national collection of fossils. Much of his youth was spent studying the dinosaur skeletons in the museum’s galleries and collecting the Silurian-aged fossils from local quarries. After graduating from Carleton University with a B.Sc. in Biology he moved to Alberta and starting volunteering with the (Royal) Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. He later obtained a B.Ed in education from the University of Alberta, and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Calgary while working on various aspects of dinosaur systematics and paleoecology with collaborators like Dr. Philip Currie and Dr. A.P. Russell.
In the course of his professional career, Michael has balanced his research projects with his interest in educating the public about science, evolution, and paleontology. As Head of Education and Public Programs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (RTMP) he helped develop and implement public-participation dinosaur research programs such as the "Day Digs" hadrosaur bone bed project. As Head of Field Operations for the RTMP the “Field Experience” excavation and volunteer fossil preparation program Michael ran lead to his discovery of several new dinosaur species. Along the way he also contributed his expertise as Chief Paleontologist for Prehistoric Animal Structures, where he oversaw the creation of replica dinosaur skeletons and dioramas for museums around the world including the full scale Brachiosaurus that was on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago before ‘Sue’ the T. rex made her dramatic entrance.
Today Michael is Curator and Head of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History where he actively researches dinosaur systematics and paleoecology, as well as a variety of related projects.