Justin Hofmann, 6, of Newton, New Jersey, knows why long-necked dinosaurs have long tails, understands the difference between the Triassic and Cretaceous periods and has his own theory of why dinosaurs vanished from the earth 65 million years ago. Because of his knowledge, this young dino expert won the unique honor of having a new dinosaur named in his honor. As the grand prize winner of Discover(R) Card’s Junior Paleontologist Discovered Contest, Hofmann was named Discover Card’s Official Junior Paleontologist. Now, as the contest winner, a newly found species of dinosaur will be named in his honor.
Hofmann, who’s been a dino-enthusiast since age 4, was thrilled to be selected as Discover Card’s Official Junior Paleontologist. “I really like digging for dinosaur bones in my backyard and pretending to dissect fossils findings,” said Hofmann. “Now, I’m very excited about having my very own dinosaur named after me and sharing my dinosaur stories with other kids!”
The new species of dinosaur is named Nedcolbertia justinhofmanni. It was a meat-eating dinosaur with a relatively long neck, sharp teeth, grasping hands, long swift legs and a balancing tail. Nedcolbertia justinhofmanni lived during the early Cretaceous period, about 125 million years ago. It was recently excavated in east central Utah by James Kirkland, Ph.D., senior paleontologist, Dinamation International Society.
The Junior Paleontologist DISCOVERed contest, launched in conjunction with Universal Studios Home Video release of The Lost World Jurassic Park(R), is part of Discover Card’s DINOSAURS DISCOVERed program. The program is designed to stimulate children’s interest in learning more about dinosaurs.
“We are delighted to honor Justin by naming a dinosaur for him,” said Lisa Lampert, vice president, Discover Card marketing, NOVUS Services, Inc. “We hope our DINOSAURS DISCOVERed program will inspire many more children to take an interest in science and see how much fun learning is.”
To enter the contest, children were asked to explain why they think dinosaurs vanished from the earth 65 million years ago, and why they should be selected as Discover Card’s Junior Paleontologist.
Hofmann was selected from 11 finalists to become Discover Card’s Official Junior Paleontologist. Hofmann and another first prize winner, Colin Lenehan from Chelsea, Michigan, received a family vacation to Universal Studios Hollywood(R). Nine runners-up received a $500 savings bond.
The Junior Paleontologist DISCOVERed contest was open to children 6-12. To enter, participants could download a contest entry form from the Discover Card Web site at http://www.discovercard.com. Children entered the contest via the Internet and direct mail. Entries were judged based on originality and creativity of essay, appropriateness to the subject and knowledge of subject matter. Winners were selected from the 11 finalists by a panel of Discover Card judges under the supervision of D.L. Blair, Inc., an independent judging organization.
As part of the DINOSAURS DISCOVERed program, Discover Card also created a free, 24″ X 36″ activity poster (call 888-311-DINO) for children interested in fascinating facts about the life of dinosaurs. The DINOSAURS DISCOVERed poster, available through January 16, 1998, includes exciting dinosaur-related games for children to play such as “Din-O-Maze,” “Are Birds Really Dinosaurs?,” and “Break the Code.” The poster also contains dinosaur pictures children can color.
Discover Card, issued by a business unit of Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co., is a general purpose credit and financial services card that is accepted nationwide wherever the NOVUS(R) sign is displayed.