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Re: Josh Smith et al in Egypt

At 03:21 PM 10/11/2002, Robert G. Tuck Jr. wrote:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert G. Tuck Jr." <tuckr@digital.net>
To: <bkazmer39@yahoo.com>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 11:48 AM
Subject: Re: Josh Smith et al in Egypt

A few personal observations:

 1) Aluminum foil to wrap fossils before applying plaster casts? Geeze, all
we had was toilet paper (otherwise known as "camp stationery") in the Texas
Permian Redbeds;

 2) During my eight years of field work in Iran and Pakistan, among other
things, I (barely) survived much more severe sandstorms, perverse
dust-devils (they *do* seem to have satanic minds of their own),
temperatures ranging from -30 F to +120 F, a Land Rover that locked up its
front wheels in central Iran (despite which we remained upright after a
spiral trajectory into the roadside desert), nearly lost its rear wheel in
remote Seistan along the Afghanistan/Iran/Pakistan border (saved by a much
needed "pit-stop"!), and burned out its clutch in Pakistan's remote Makran
(which place nearly destroyed Alexander and his army in 325 B.C.E.),
detention by diligent Pakistani police, and a bloody, violent,
fundamentalist Shi'ite Islamic revolution by the followers of the late
'Ayatollah Khomeini ;

 3) I had to contend with and placate rebellious tribes (Qasqai, Kurds,
Bakhtiari, etc.), whilst collecting and preparing zoological specimens in
the midst of central Iran (being a crazy man catching mice, lizards, and
bugs and who spoke fractured Farsi helped put me under 'Allah's protection);

 4) No matter where, or in how remote a location, I set up camp in Iran or
Pakistan, it immediately attracted camel caravans and shepherds with flocks
of noisome sheep: being awakened at 2:00 a.m. by chants, and camel-bells,
and camel silhouettes against a starry sky in Iranian Azarbaijan is one
memory I'll gladly retain; being under the spotlights and guns of Soviet
watchtowers on the northwestern Caspian Sea shore is one memory I'd prefer
to forget (ironically, it was a Soviet mammalogist who designated one of my
specimens -- collected in the area despite USSR misgivings -- as the type of
a new species of dormouse, _Myomimus setzeri_, named in honor of my
Smithsonian Institution supervisor at the time).

 Actually, I think Josh and company got short-changed during their six-week

-= Tuck =-

It was a pretty cushy assignment...more like paleo day camp than fieldwork. You might notice that the film crew made a HUGE deal out of the "sand storms." While they were certainly annoying, I have had harder times in Massachusetts.


------ Josh Smith Assistant Professor of Geology Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences Washington University 1 Brookings Drive Campus Box 1169 108 Wilson Hall St. Louis, MO 63130-4899 Office: 314.935.7033 FAX: 314.935.7361 smithjb@levee.wustl.edu http://epsc.wustl.edu

Director, Bahariya Dinosaur Project