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FW: It's Just a Joke!

---------------Original Message---------------
This is fowarded from a posting to the ARCH-L list by Dr David L.
Carlson.  I thought it might lighten up the spirits of our group, and
perhaps ring a few bells out there in science land.  Its a bit long, but
appeared to me to be well worth it. 

>Paleoanthropology Division
>Smithsonian Institute
>207 Pennsylvania Avenue
>Washington, DC 20078
>Dear Sir:
>Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled
>"211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post. Hominid
>skull." We have given this specimen a careful and detailed
>examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your
>theory that it represents "conclusive proof of the presence of
>Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago." Rather, it
>appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of
>the variety one of our staff, who has small children, believes to
>be the "Malibu Barbie". It is evident that you have given a great
>deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be
>quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior
>work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your
>findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical
>attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to
>it's modern origin:
>     1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains
>are typically fossilized bone.
>     2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9
>cubic centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest
>identified proto-hominids.
>     3. The dentition pattern evident on the "skull" is more
>consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the
>"ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams" you speculate roamed the
>wetlands during that time. This latter finding is certainly one
>of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your
>history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh
>rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail,
>let us say that:
>          A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll
>               that a dog has chewed on.
>          B. Clams don't have teeth.
>It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your
>request to have the specimen carbon dated. This is partially due
>to the heavy load our lab must bear in it's normal operation, and
>partly due to carbon dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of
>recent geologic record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie
>dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating is likely
>to produce wildly inaccurate results. Sadly, we must also deny
>your request that we approach the National Science Foundation's
>Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your
>the scientific name "Australopithecus spiff-arino." Speaking
>personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of
>your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because
>species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really
>like it might be Latin.
>However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this
>fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a
>hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example
>of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so
>effortlessly. You should know that our Director has reserved a
>special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens
>you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire
>staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your
>digs at the site you have discovered in your back yard. We
>eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you
>proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the
>Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing
>you expand on your theories surrounding the "trans-positating
>fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix" that makes
>the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently
>discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm
>Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.
>                              Yours in Science,
>                              Harvey Rowe
>                              Curator, Antiquities

----------End of Original Message----------

Steve Grenard
E-mail: grenard@herpmed.com
POB 40825 - Staten Island NY 10304-0825 USA
Telephone/Fax/Messages: 1-718-4476144

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