Dr. Hugh “Greg” McDonald (1951 – present) was born in Orange, California, to Leslie and Dorothy McDonald. In 1959, the family moved to Palmdale where young Greg went on field trips with the Palmdale Gem and Mineral Club and became especially interested in petrified wood and invertebrate fossils.
While attending Palmdale High School, Greg participated in classes at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and became a volunteer in the department of vertebrate paleontology. Here, he was able to participate in excavations for the museum’s hall of dinosaurs, which allowed him to be part of a team that discovered the fourth known Tyrannosaurs rex skeleton, along with other specimens.
As an undergraduate at Idaho State University, Greg worked on a project that required the preparation of an extinct giant ground sloth (Megalonyx) skeleton. Ground sloths eventually became his primary research as a paleontologist, along with their relatives and other Pleistocene fauna.
After receiving his doctorate from the University of Toronto, Dr. Greg McDonald continued his research and became a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. He then joined the National Park Service, serving as a paleontologist at Hagerman Fossil Beds and the Paleontology Program Coordinator for the Geologic Resource Division. In time, he also became the senior curator of natural history in the National Park Service Museum Management Program.
As a graduate of Palmdale High School, Dr. McDonald returned to the Antelope Valley in 2000, as a guest lecturer for LMAG’s (Lancaster Museum/Art Gallery) exhibition “Dinosaurs in the Desert,” which featured a robotic ground sloth he designed for Kokoro Exhibits.
Currently, Dr. McDonald is a Regional Paleontologist with the Bureau of Land Management.
"Gurba, Norma H. Legendary Locals of the Antelope Valley. Arcadia, 2013.
Photo courtesy of MOAH Collections"