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Re: Germany then and now

In a message dated 9/29/11 11:21:03 AM, paleeoguy@gmail.com writes:

<< Get your measurements, Greg. That`s what this list is for. Please go

to  WWII forum if you want to rag on 20th century Germany. >>

Although I can understand where some of this is coming from, in the end I 
disagree. There is a real danger to popular paleo pretending that the field 
has in a sense no deep history outside the rather cheerful tale we are 
normally presented. It is rather like how it is only recently being 
that even the NE US was heavily dependent upon slavery until the early 1800s. 
I had no clue that the White House was built largely by slaves until fairly 
recently, or that early NYC was also built to a great extent by bonded 

Of course this list can include extensive discussions on paleohistory, 
especially the "fun & entertaining side" such as the famous Marsh-Cope feud and 
what it was like to work at Garden Park and Como Bluff in the 1880s. But 
what happened at Tendaguru? It was the largest dinosaur "mining" operation that 
I know of, involving hundreds of colonized laborers. What circumstances 
were they operating under? Where they happy to have the pay however minimal I 
suspect it was? Or were they in some way discontented or forced by the German 
colonizers? How did it connect with the notorious genocides underway in 
Africa at that time? And what happened when the Brits took over? Where they 
nicer, or worse? That the fate of all these Africans has been largely ignored 
in favor of the western oriented focus of paleohistory is not to the credit 
of the paleocommunity. 

For example, is the circumstances that the Africans worked at Tendaguru 
covered at the new HMN exhibit? If not it should be researched and covered at 
the museum. This sort of thing has practical implications for modern paleo. 
By treating the past efforts of colonized peoples with more attention and 
respect the field may enjoy better relations with some current governments 
where resentment against the colonial period remains strong. Just waving it 
as being typical of those olden days is not the best idea PR wise. 

Likewise that some key German paleos were in deep with the Nazis is fair 
game for discussion. What I would better like to know is who did what and 
when. It's worth a book assumming it has not yet been done -- better than yet 
another tome on Marsh & Cope. 

When I used the term Kraut for some Nazi era paleos I was just venting a 
little frustation about how bad some of the figure scaling is in the 
Palaeontolographica publication figures and text -- the Germans are supposed to 
be so 
meticulous after all -- and I did not expect any notice of it. But in 
hindsight the subject has greater import. Paleontology is not just about 
measurements and fossils, it is part of the greater human story for better or