Journey back to prehistoric Dallas in its days beneath a terrifying ocean

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Cambria Hotel Downtown Dallas

1907 Elm St · Dallas, TX

How to find us

Come to the Petro Bar & Bistro near the lobby

Location image of event venue


Profs and Pints presents: “The Sea Monsters of Prehistoric Dallas,” with Louis Jacobs, professor emeritus of paleontology at Southern Methodist University, president of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man, and author of Lone Star Dinosaurs.

[Advance tickets available at ]

If someone invents a time machine and offers to take you back to prehistoric Dallas, you’ll be a lot safer not getting inside. There’s a good chance you would end up at the bottom of an ocean and be devoured by some huge creatures long before you can reach the surface.

The vast shale bed that underlies the city came from the mud and clay at the bottom of large bodies of salt water that existed here 66 to 96 million years ago. It holds not just the fossil fuels that gave rise to our local economy, but plenty of fossils offering clues as to which life forms dwelled here. Come learn about them from Louis Jacobs, a vertebrate paleontologist who is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on dinosaurs, mosasaurs and other prehistoric creatures. The talk is being staged at the Petro Bar & Bistro at the Cambria Hotel Downtown Dallas as part of a collaboration between Profs and Pints and the national Cambria Hotels brand that seeks to expand access to higher learning in the city.

Citing his field research and excavations in Texas and other parts of the world—including, most recently, Angola—Professor Jacobs will paint a picture of life in an extinct ocean, eerily like that of today yet starkly different. Its residents included huge sea turtles and giant marine lizards.

Among the questions he’ll tackle: Why was the ocean here? Where did it go? How do remnants of it help explain our modern earth?

Dr. Jacobs will also describe how paleontologists who are excavating the coastal cliffs of Angola are making finds that the nation sees as a source of pride, and how he prepared fossils uncovered there for display at a special exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

You’ll walk out more knowledgeable about Texas’s geology and distant past and more aware of the legacy of a strange world beneath your feet. You also might end up feeling younger, more in touch with your inner dinosaur enthusiast, and full of facts that you can repeat to captivate the kids in your life. If you can do that just by coming to the Cambria Hotel, who needs a time machine? (Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Tickets are $12 and must be purchased in advance.)