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Paleontologist & Educator Tsiory Andrianavalona Receives 2019 Alf Award

Dr. Tsiory Andrianavalona. Photo by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic.

On October 18, the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology recognized Dr. Tsiory Andrianavalona with the Alf Award for Excellence in Paleontological Research and Education at the annual Peccary Society dinner. The award honors a paleontologist who demonstrates exceptional achievement both in original scientific research, as well as in education and outreach at the primary and secondary school (K–12) levels.

Dr. Andrianavalona is an expert on fossil sharks and rays from her home country of Madagascar, with multiple published scientific papers in this area. Madagascar is perhaps best known for its unique land plants and animals, and Dr. Andrianavalona’s work provides important new information on how marine ecosystems have changed over the past 40 million years. Furthermore, she has dedicated her time to hands-on science education, as co-founder of ExplorerHome Madagascar Science Center ( Her work through the science center, funded in part by National Geographic, has facilitated new educational opportunities for K–12 students in Madagascar, including the opportunity to excavate fossils of extinct animals from the island.

Alf Museum paleontologist Andy Farke commented, “Madagascar has some of the world’s most amazing fossils, and Dr. Andrianavalona is doing exciting work in discovering and sharing the island’s prehistory with today’s students.”

“For a scientist, it is important to share passion and inspire others, especially when sharing creates the world’s future generation of change makers. Being a ‘passion-sharer’ has become a rewarding mission for me,” said Andrianavalona.

Students and staff from ExplorerHome Madagascar Science Center. Photo by Shivan Parusnath.

Dr. Tsiory Andrianavalona has a strong track record of outstanding contributions to science and education, and the Alf Museum is pleased to honor her with the Raymond M. Alf Award for Excellence in Paleontological Research and Education.

The award consists of an honorarium, an award plaque, and all travel costs for the recipient to attend the Alf Museum’s Peccary Dinner to receive the award.