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I just got this from a friend on the net...I thought it was a hoot!
The Gateway Country Fossil Page
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BACKGROUND: There's this nutball who digs things out of his back yard
and sends the stuff he finds to the Smithsonian, labeling them with
scientific names, insisting that they are ctual archaeological finds.
The letter below as written by one of the Smithsonian curators after
the guy sent in a Barbie doll head, claiming it was a human fossil.
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
we regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it
represents "conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in
Hennepin 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
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
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
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 its 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 specimen the scientific name "Australopithecus
Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the
acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted
down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't
really sound 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 Sears
Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.
Yours in Science,
Nicholas F. Robinson, M. D.
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