James Alvin Jensen
Born August 02, 1918
Died December 18, 1998
John S. McIntosh
December 21, 1998
It was with the greatest sorrow that I learned of Jim’s death. I thought about trying to fly out for the funeral, but at my age winter travel on the spur of the moment is difficult. Fortunately, due to the kindness of Brooks Britt and Rod Schertz I was able to spend several hours with him in August. It was of course, very sad to see a man of such energy and vitality confined to his bed.
I met Jim first in the early ‘70s at an SVP Meeting. Knowing of my interest in sauropods, he pulled out of his pocket a beautiful little Diplodocus-like premaxilla from the [[Cactus Park Quarry]] to show me. Not only did he collect some of the biggest bones ever found, but many tiny gems as well. He ended up giving this bone to Vivian Jones. A year or so later while driving through Colorado, I heard on the radio that a major dinosaur find had been made in the western part of the state. Suspecting that this must be connected with Jim, I called BYU and was referred to a telephone operator in Delta. On calling Delta, I was told by the operator all about the Dry Mesa quarry and was given explicit instructions as to how to get there. After traveling miles on forest roads trying to avoid gigantic logging trucks, which traveled at break neck speeds and could have easily brushed my little car off into a ravine, I finally arrived at the quarry only to find a circus atmosphere. There were cars from some
twenty states. Jim saw me coming and immediately thrust a trowel into my hand and said, “Dig up that caudal vertebra!” In the ensuing years I would always stop in Provo for a few days, and Jim would tell me all the things he had collected and show me the new bones which had just been prepared. It was a high point of each summer. One of the most memorable times was when Jim packed me and Brooks Britt (who was then a boy of about 17) into his truck and spent the day taking us all over the state of Utah showing us all the dinosaur quarries. I learned more about Utah geology from Jim that day than most people could know in a lifetime.
I am sorry it was not possible to arrange for the publication of Jim’s drawing and photographs during his lifetime, but I shall continue to make an effort to see that they get published. Wade Miller is trying also. Their publication would be a fitting tribute and memorial to the life of a great man. He certainly was just that - probably the greatest dinosaur collector since the legendary Barnum Brown. His collection has already produced a very impresive number of significant new, and in many cases huge, animals. It will no doubt produce many more in the years ahead as the bones are prepared. It was an honor and privilege for me to have known such a truly great man.
[[Jack McIntosh]] **(With His Written Permission)
[[Barnum Brown]] (1873-1963): One of the most famous figures in paleontology, Barnum Brown was a collector whose accomplishments are difficult to adequately stress. Hired by Henry Fairfield Osborn to collect for the AMNH, the marvelous dinosaur skeletons which grace the New York institution are largely the fruits of Brown's labor, and they started flowing into the museum in 1910. Brown collected the most famous Tyrannosaurus specimens of all (second perhaps only to "Sue" of the Field Museum in Chicago), and described both Leptoceratops gracilis and Anchiceratops longirostris. Like several other now famous figures in dinosaur paleontology, Brown lacked any formal training in the field, and yet besides collecting and naming taxa, his contributions were considerable. His monograph on Protoceratops (1940) was the definitive treatment of this now famous species, and remains an essential reference for any further study of the specimen.<http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Barnum_Brown>