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Arlington Archosaur site director dies

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Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 5:45 pm | Updated: 12:58 am, Wed Oct 30, 2013.

Update 2 p.m.: According to a Dallas police report, an unidentified person found Main, 41, dead in his apartment on Tuesday afternoon. The police report says the cause of death is unexplained. Main leaves behind a fiancée.

Derek Main, a UTA alumnus and director of the Arlington Archosaur site, died Tuesday in his home, according to the Dallas Medical Examiner's office.

Main's cause of death is pending and will be available in eight to 12 weeks, according to the examiner’s office.

Main was the director of the Arlington Archosaur dig site, in which, a new species of crocodile was uncovered in 2011.

Main received his doctorate from UTA last month, and his Master of Science in geology from UTA in 2005. He was recently a guest speaker at the TedxUTA series on April 22.

Main taught earth history and dinosaurs and earth systems at UTA. Derek also taught courses at Northlake College and Tarrant County College.

While doing research, Main took his students on monthly field trip excavations to the Arlington Archosaur site.

According to a post on Facebook by Main's brother, Darren Main, visitation will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday at Donnelly's Colonial Funeral Home in Irving, while service will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Irving.


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  • adoradeny posted at 3:23 am on Tue, Nov 25, 2014.

    adoradeny Posts: 7

    Each death is a tragedy! Families try to cope with this reality, but sometimes is too difficult. In time all wounds will heal, but the family has to have patience for this to happen. Some people prefer to buy urns from to have their loved one near them, at home.

  • godzilla_753 posted at 11:23 am on Fri, Jun 7, 2013.

    godzilla_753 Posts: 1

    I met Derek while volunteering at the archosaur dig site about a year ago. He struck me as a very pleasant, laid back, intelligent guy. Very sad to hear about this, my condolences go out to the family and fiance. I hope that he may rest in peace.

  • Nvanvranken posted at 4:00 pm on Thu, Jun 6, 2013.

    Nvanvranken Posts: 1

    Derek was an inspirational person I have always been thankful of the opportunities that you have given me over the years and the wise words of encouragement. I have learnt more from him working on various projects dealing with the Arlington
    Archosaur Site than any of the classes I had received at UTA.

    Derek could sense potential in people. Derek gave me opportunities that normal students, especially on the undergraduate level would never have such as working on papers, publishing on ideas, presenting research talks and posters at GSA.

    Derek allowed me to conduct fieldwork & research, and even listening to me ramble on about ideas I had and advised me on those ideas. Derek literally was my master, mentor, best friend, and closest thing to an academic father to me.

    Derek also allowed me to work on various projects not related to AAS or UTA which allowed me to grow as an academic. He even helped in Brainstorming for my undergraduate thesis and run my own division and project within AAS.

    Without Derek, I don't think I would have gotten though school at UTA, get into academic paleontology, and life. A true legend that shouldn’t be forgotten. He was one of the reasons why I came to UTA.

    - Nathan Van Vranken


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