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Go ahead, ask Rod Scheetz about the “stalk-and-eviscerate” predatory methods of the Utahraptor or the nesting habits of a mama Philydrosaurus. Quiz him on the delicacies of harvesting Cretaceous-era dinosaur fossils buried deep in the clay of western Colorado.

But don’t bother asking him to name his favorite Jurassic Park film.

“Haven’t watched one of them,” said the curator of Brigham Young University’s Museum of Paleontology, smiling. “It’s really too bad, I guess.”

Call it the “paleontologist’s curse.” Scheetz can’t sit through a dino flick without twitching a bit. He’s simply incapable of tuning out his scientific sensibilities—even for an hour or two of Hollywood fun.

But at BYU, he feels no such friction between his vigorous scientific study and the school’s mission to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life. Operating a scientifically rigorous paleontological research facility and museum on a faith-based campus, he said, is a “natural fit.”

Curiosity and religious devotion can be shared attributes.

“That’s the beauty of the Church—it’s one of the reasons why I joined the Church,” he said. “The Church is looking for truth, and we don’t find truth only in the scriptures. There’s truth all around us; we just have to search for it.”

Scheetz was 12 years old and already a rock hound in the early 1970s when he reached out to the “father” of BYU’s paleontology program—James “Dinosaur Jim” Jensen. Young Rod had found what he believed were baby dinosaur bones near his home of Delta, Colorado. Impressed by the boy’s enthusiasm (and correct assessment), Dr. Jensen invited him to take part in a local fossil dig.

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