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Re: how to be a paleontologist

Mary wrote:
>  So You Want to be a Paleontologist site at:
>  http://www.cisab.indiana.edu/~mrowe/dinosaur-FAQ.html), and the
>  short lists do not contain the names of average students, great
>  personality or not.  

Huh, I dunno about that Mary. I can think of at least one very famous
paleontologist that didn't make it through school. I can also thing of a lot
of famous and talented museum staff (preparators, collections folks, etc.)
that have full time museum positions and publish on a regular basis and
don't have that "Dr" heading. The list would be very short indeed, and would
be missing some critical folks if degrees are the only thing that makes the

As someone who has a "real job" and does paleo on the side, let's just say
that situation had down sides, too. Right now all of my paleo pals and
cohorts are spending 6 weeks looking into a new site. I, on the other hand,
get to stay here and fix computers all day because there is no way I could
take off for six weeks. Right now is not the best time to ask me if I'd
rather be able to pay the bills easily or have the adventure of a lifetime! 

I also want to note that I really love being a preparator. I'm almost
finished months of work on a cervical- it was in such bad shape that at
first we thought it was two verts! It's very satisfying to turn a crushed
mess into a lovely fossil that can be studied. I really wouldn't trade
working with the fossils the way I do to do cladistical analysis all day!
Being a preparator is not the boobie prize if you don?t want/can?t get your
doctorate. It?s rich and rewarding choice if you have the knack.

-Sherry Michael

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