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Re: The (long) future of paleontology

Dear List,

As I entered the post-college "real world" I briefly developed a[n
inappropriate] sense of guilt about artwork I do that does not seem to
directly help human life or our environment; indeed the resources
consumed by art can be argued to be a waste.  That temporary and
irrational pang of humanitarian guilt never extended to my scientific
illustrations, however.

If one believes that both education and science are beneficial to the
world in any capacity, then paleontology has the best possible
application of any scientific field: it is the avenue through which
many children learn science and go on to become scientists in this and
other fields.  What a wonderful and lasting contribution!  We should
all feel very positive about being a small part of that chain of
learning and inquisitiveness.

Warmly and fuzzily,


On 1/22/06, Mike Taylor <mike@miketaylor.org.uk> wrote:
> > Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 13:50:52 +0100 (MET)
> > From: David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
> >
> >> such practically 'useless' fields as palaeontology (which will
> >> never cure dieases, feed the starving, etc) that rely more on
> >> satisfying human curosity than need.
> >
> > Don't you say that.
> >
> > Think of paleoclimatology. What is the world like when it is, say,
> > on average 5 °C warmer than today? A very big part of the answer is
> > to look back instead of forwards, _find_ some time in Earth history
> > which was that warm, and research it. Will the deserts disappear?
> > Did they disappear the last 10 times? ...
> True enough ...  but it's hard to see how the dinosaur work that we
> all love makes any such contribution.  I think Jim Farlow was bang on
> target when he said "I have always prided myself on being in a field
> that has no practical application."