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Re: The (long) future of paleontology



There is also a lot to be said for the process of actually being "in the hole" with the fossils. No current technology has instinct, hunch, inspiration (or perspiration) and intuition. Past experience is invaluable when "deciding" where to dig. I walked up to a new outcrop once, studied it a bit, climbed up to a likely spot and sank my pick on the third swing into an isolated t-rex tooth (shattered it into 50 pieces since rebuilt). There weren't 4 other fossils come off of that outcrop. Call it serendipity but I call it past experience combined with hunch which is something that no technology (given the size of the world) can accomplish within the next hundred years. Even if technology continues to grow exponentially, it will be a while before self replicating nano-technology could cover "the area" of interest. There is nothing like good old footwork to cover lots of ground. I have been closely studying my small 5 square mile ranch for the last 3 years and I still haven't looked under every rock or on every exposed outcrop surface for microsite exposure. It is a really big place out here (there). Any technology by definition is expensive and to cover the whole place would be prohibitive. Once you narrow your search down to say a particular outcrop, then you get out the GPRadar and check it out. Even seeing a few feet down would expand my horizons considerable since I really only visually search a two dimensional surface at any one time. Seeing 3-D would be a bonus. Currently, I have to dig to do that and then there is the 4th dimension of time involved. Oh, yeah, the dirty fingernails too!

Frank (Rooster) Bliss
MS Biostratigraphy
Weston, Wyoming
www.cattleranch.org