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The End of an Era
Just a depressing note for everyone,
Today is the last work day for many employees within the U.S. Geological
Survey, including a great number of paleontologists and paleontological
technicians. All three centers (Reston, VA; Denver, CO; and Menlo Park, CA)
will loose (among others ), all vertebrate paleontologists (with the
exception of condont workers, but they don't like to think of themselves as
VPers), almost all macroinvertebrate workers (i.e., brachiopods, ammonites,
trilobites, bivalves, etc.), and the majority of the tech staff (i.e., my
Staying on will be most of the micropaleontoloigsts and a couple of techs at
This is part of the current trend in down-sizing of government, and it is
nothing new (Marsh got fired from the USGS in 1892, for example).
Nevertheless, this puts many of my colleagues out on the streets,
employment-wise, and breaks up what once the largest concentration of
paleontological expertise in one institution.
It may be that, down the line, a reorganized USGS will hire back some of
these workers, but given the current politics in Congress and the White
House, I wouldn't hold my breath.
The USGS has not supported dinosaur work for about 103 years, so the main
interest of this group will not be effected directly. Nevertheless, since
many people on line here are interested in paleontology in general, I
thought I'd share this information.
So, have a good day, everyone, and count your lucky stars your not a USGS
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742