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Paleontology Payback (was The Science of The Lost World)



Paul Willis wrote on 4/16/97:
>>but I would ask why comercial ventures can cash ion on palaeontologicla
>>work without paying any dues back into the science. Are the makers of this
>>cereal paying a portion of profist back to palaeontology?  >>

And Walt Owen wrote on 4/20/97:
<SNIP>>I bet that General Mills makes a ton, and the only folks who see
anything
>from it are Amblin and Universal, for license fees...

When was the last time any of us outright _gave_ money to our favorite
natural history museum, without first paying admission?  Of the pros on the
list, how many of their departments are _over_ funded?  We have seen postings
on this list of closings and cutbacks at geology departments.  There was a
telling forwarded post by Bonnie Blackwell on the PaleoAnthro list, quoting a
letter from Alan Hale, of Comet Hale-Bopp, saying that employment
opportunities in science are “abysmal,” and that “there is no way that I can,
with a clear conscience, encourage present-day students to pursue a career in
science.”  

So, if The Lost World and the cereals and other related products are going to
make hundreds of millions of dollars, why shouldn’t some of it go back into
paleontology to create jobs, expand natural history museums, fund field and
research projects?  The need is critically there, and the students on this
list might want to think about what they are going to do with their glossy
diplomas if there are NO jobs available in their fields, or anything even
remotely related.  

One problem with our beloved dinosaur science is that it is popularly aimed
at children, as if dinos were exclusively toys for tots.  Children don’t have
the money--adults do.  If an adult wants to see a dinosaur exhibit, he feels
almost as if he has to wear dark glasses to attend without a child.
 Certainly children love dinosaurs, but at a certain age it is thought of as
childish to still love dinosaurs!  Not so astronomy, baseball, football, etc.
 We need to focus more on adults and corporations and less on children of the
Barney generation.

It would be interesting to ask The Dinosaur Society how many grants will be
funded through by-products of The Lost World.  Adults who love dinosaurs
should be inspired to contribute to the cause.  How about that tax refund
that is coming back soon?  Send it to The Dinosaur Society, your local
geology/earth sciences department, or favorite natural history museum.  Talk
is cheap, but paleontology costs money.

Mary
mkirkaldy@aol.com