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Re: Fieldwork or bust? (Was: Stenopelix valdensis)

I agree with Denver's point.

I personally know a paleontologist (who shall remain unnamed) that rarely
visits the field (and when she does, it is only on 1-day field trips at
annual meetings).  She does all of her work in museum collections.  She
openly admitted to me that she couldn't "read" an outcrop if her life
depended on it.  Even though her knowledge of biology is impressive, I'm
not sure that I would trust the sections of her papers that deal with
stratigraphic context or biostratigraphic context.

With time, as paleontology becomes fragmented into more and more
subdisciplines and subspecialties, I believe that this "disconnect with
the dirt" will only become greater.  Many of today's paleontologists were
educated only as biologists.  There are increasingly more paleontology
grads that lack an adequate education in geology, even introductory-level
geology, and who have no desire to learn any geo after the fact.  I
should note, however, that these people still constitute a small minority
of all paleontologists.

Nesciamus, non attingamus

On Wed, 12 Jul 2006 11:21:51 +0100 mike@miketaylor.org.uk (Mike Taylor)
> Not at all wanting to get caught up in Denver and Mickey's argument,
> but as I was reading a recent post in that thread, my eye was 
> caught
> by this fragment:
> Denver Fowler writes:
>  > You cannot gain a true appreciation of time, stratigraphy,
>  > variation, or the fossil record as a whole, unless you actually 
> go
>  > out into it and dig.
> Would most other DMLers perceive this as true?  What specific 
> insight
> into the fossil record can only be gained in the field and not from
> studying in collections or the literature?  I am genuinely curious.
>  _/|_  
> ___________________________________________________________________
> /o ) \/  Mike Taylor  <mike@miketaylor.org.uk>  
> http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
> )_v__/\  "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are 
> not
>        entitled to their own facts" -- U.S. Senator Pat Moynihan.