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Prof. Björn Kurtén, who died in 1988, was one of the world’s finest evolutionary paleontologists. In his native Finland, a country with almost no fossils, he created a paleontology tradition. He studied the great Ice Age mammals, the mammoth and the bison, the sabre-toothed tiger and the cave bear, and he built a picture of their origins and patterns of life. He combined meticulous attention to detail with freshness of thinking, and won awards as a scientist and as a writer.

He sought to capture in novels the feeling of life for the people of ancient times. “More and more,” he wrote, “I have felt there is much to be told that simply cannot be formulated in scientific reports. How did it feel to live then? How did the world look to you?”

Members of the Björn Kurtén Club of the University of Helsinki – Professor Mikael Fortelius, Dr Janina Rannikko, Otto Stenberg and Ilari Pätilä – describe his work and his impact on paleontological research in Finland today.

You can watch this free event from here, through the YouTube link below, or if you’d like to join questions and discussion, you can also go to the Science Festival’s YouTube channel

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