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RE: Science is NOT a four-letter word (fwd)



I like the idea and have thought of that myself, and though I'm very
interested in dinosaurs I would be first in line to buy similarly well
illustrated books on all the other animals and plants that were around that
I, some of which only have vague knowledge of. I assume they don't exist
because: 

1) those that could do it properly are more in the underpaid-overworked end
of the spectrum of occupations (i.e. becoming a palaeontologist is neither a
get-rich-quick strategy, nor an occupation chosen that that affords time or
funds for 'side projects'). True, most palaeontologists are not struggling
to put food on the table, but most do have to work on the time and money
equation. (of course some have found such book projects are a way to
compliment their income from research). 

2) because of limited market, for instance there's a lot of bird field
guides to choose from because there's a surprisingly large number of bird
watchers lurking out there. Also, in most places a walk outdoors will lead
to more sightings of bird species than other vertebrates, and they're less
shy than flightless mammals, reptiles and amphibians so the general public
notice them more and will be more likely interested to find out what they
are (and probably find them 'prettier'). I'd guess 'fishing' guides would be
the other well represented group.
I think 


There are some that have attempted the sort of books that look at other
'non-dinosaur' groups. Wellnhoffer's book on pterosaurs is probably the most
comprehensive example, which is going back a few years now. There are few
others, but not many...

Cheers,
Chris


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
> Ian Paulsen
> Sent: Tuesday, 20 February 2007 11:30 AM
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Science is NOT a four-letter word (fwd)
> 
> HI:
>  This is my response to a thread on public science education on the
> Vrtpaleo listserver. Any comments?
> 
> --
> 
> Ian Paulsen
> Bainbridge Island, WA, USA
> A.K.A.: "Birdbooker"
> "Rallidae all the way!"
> 
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2007 15:45:38 -0800 (PST)
> From: Ian Paulsen <birdbooker@zipcon.net>
> To: Ryan Ridgely <ridgely@ohio.edu>
> Cc: VRTPALEO@usc.edu
> Subject: Science is NOT a four-letter word
> 
> HI ALL:
>  As I'm fond of saying: Science is NOT a four-letter word. I mean that
> both literally and figuratively. When I try to explain something
> scientific to a non-scientist I often find them losing interest after
> awhile especially if technical jargon is involved. When we talk science,I
> often think of the famous line from COOL HAND LUKE: "What we've got here
> is (a) failure to communicate."
>  My background is zoology/ wildlife biology so I'm use to dealing with
> extant species, not extinct (At least prehistorically extinct species). I
> have recently taken an interest in fossil birds, but not being in the
> field of paleontology, I'm frustrated by the lack of material on fossil
> birds in an easily accessible format. In my field if I want to show
> someone the species I'm talking about I grab the FIELD GUIDE of that group
> and turn to the species in question. Except for dinosaurs, I don't see
> anything really available in the book market that could be used as a field
> guide. Some have attributed the modern field guide (Roger Tory Peterson's
> bird guide first published in 1934) in help starting the modern
> environmental movement by getting people outdoors and exploring the world
> around them. I have a feeling we could start a modern scientific movement
> if we could make science more accessible to the average person IF WE DO IT
> IN A NON-PATRONIZING MANNER. That's why I was thinking of field guides for
> paleontology (or any other science that doesn't currently have them). I
> would like to see: A FIELD GUIDE TO FOSSIL BIRDS or A FIELD GUIDE TO THE
> PLEISTOCENE OF NORTH AMERICA. If you think I'm joking I happen to know the
> field guide director at Houghton Mifflin (publisher of the Peterson
> guides)and I know she would be interested in any SERIOUS book proposals
> along these lines. Either that or opening a scientific version of
> "Hooters"!
> 
> --
> 
> Ian Paulsen
> Bainbridge Island, WA, USA
> A.K.A.: "Birdbooker"
> "Rallidae all the way!"