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

Experiencing fresh air and near heat stroke is the closest that most of us will ever come to experiencing a vision quest.

And there are the very personal spiritual moments when seeing and touching a pristine new find, and smelling the evanescent hint of peat and decaying plant matter that sometimes is associated with a fossil bone (e.g., in the Hell Creek). One's ability to appreciate the particular specimen as an individual, as a living organism, is most profound when it is first encountered in the field. Later it takes a bit more effort to reconstruct that feeling when holding the fully prepared specimen in a museum, and harder still when it is abstracted and reduced to a publication. The writings of a Loren Eiseley or a Teilhard de Chardin do not fully substitute for the first-person spiritual experiences that can be gained in the field.