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RE: Arm-chair Paleo & Other Things
I only recently joined this group, and having taken the hard-rock option in
geology, I am somewhat amused at this "Rodney Dangerfield" attitude. I'm
racking my brain trying to think of another profession that has the same
gripes, but only the law comes to mind.
Please don't lose sight of the fact that paleontologists have provided a
wonderfully rich contribution to our lives over the years. The public is
enchanted with dinosaurs, and children seem to absolutely love them. Kids
will mix and match Triassic and Jurassic species, and even toss in a Mighty
Morphin Power Ranger if necessary, but not out of disrespect to science --
out of necessity and out of fun.
Certainly there are many areas where contributions can be made -- advising
the JP II movie, writing merit badge pamphlets and helping in schools. But
make sure it is done in the spirit of community service (or cold cash
consulting) and not out of some need to crusade.
I have actually heard people say they hope scientists never conclusively
prove what caused dinosaurs to become extinct, because then some of the
glamour would disappear! Comets, climate change, alien beings -- some people
don't want the mystery solved. They could never remember the Jurassic age
until the movie stamped it into their brains, but now that its there, I
submit that progress has been made.
Garret H. Romaine
BS Geology Univ of Oregon 1980