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Riley has been a fossil fanatic since the time she was knee-high to a Stegosaurus. Her evolution into a science writer and amateur paleontologist was only natural. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, right in the center of dinosaur country, she chases tales of vanished lives from museum collections to remote badlands.
A prolific writer, Riley regularly covers the latest prehistoric discoveries on her Scientific American blog Laelaps. Her fossil-filled tweets have led Business Insider to call her one of the top "science social media wizards" and HLN to dub her one of "Twitter's 8 coolest geeks", as well, and she was the host of Parallax Film’s Dinologue. And in a childhood dream come true, Riley was also hired to be the "resident paleontologist" for Jurassic World.
In between blogs, Riley also freelances for a variety of publications - from National Geographic to io9 - and writes books. Her first, Written in Stone, was an exploration about what evolution's great transitions tell us about our place in nature, and her second, My Beloved Brontosaurus, was a critically-acclaimed romp with the new dinosaurs science is bringing to life. She also wrote two books in 2014 - the National Geographic special issue When Dinosaurs Ruled and the children's book Prehistoric Predators, illustrated by Julius Csotonyi. Her latest, Skeleton Keys, is all about the multi-faceted lives of our bones
But Riley does more than just write about fossils. Every summer she volunteers with an array of museums and universities to discover and excavate new specimens. These expeditions have taken her from the arid deserts of New Mexico to a Wyoming cave filled with Ice Age mammal bones. Visits to lost worlds fuel Riley's writing and her enthusiasm for life's amazing history.
[Riley previously published under the name Brian Switek. She/her or they/them pronouns are preferred.]