Geologist and paleontologist Federico Fanti, 36 years old, is junior assistant professor at the Alma Mater Sudiorum University of Bologna in the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, and is the only Italian among the 14 talents that entered the Emerging Explorer Program of the National Geographic for the year 2017. National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers Program recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring young adventurers, scientists, photographers, and storytellers – explorers who are already making a difference early in their careers. To help the Emerging Explorers realize their potential, National Geographic awards each of them $10,000 for research and exploration.
Fanti commented: “I am obviously very happy. I am part of the generation that grew up with National Geographic, so I am honored.” Among the most important collaborations with the National Geographic Fanti mentions: “the digging campaign in Tunisia and the work that began in Mongolia last September – Mongolia is one of the world’s richest fossil sites and, because of this, there is a flourishing black market that we are trying to combat”. His studies focus on how climate and ecological changes have influenced evolution through adaptation or extinction.
Since 2006, he has conducted excavation campaigns all over the world and, in December 2014, during an expedition in the Tataouine Governorate, Tunisia, he discovered the skeleton of a giant crocodile, a previously unknown species, which has been named Machimosaurus Rex.
About the $10,000 grant that he will receive with the award Fanti said: “I will turn it directly to the university fund from which we draw for our assignments.”
Ilona Catani Scarlett