Picking up the pieces…

5 07 2007

I spent most of my day today hunched over a lab table, sifting through a bag of fossilized peat, trying to pick up the tattered and compressed leaves and stems of ancient angiosperms and gymnosperms. Anyone who’s had a similar experience (forams, anyone?) knows that such work is not what is going to show up on the Discovery Channel when someone asks a paleontologist what their work is like, but it’s important nonetheless. I hope to get my part of the research done by next week so the paper it is relevant to can start on its way to print, and even though it’s a good way away I’ll announce when it will end up being published.


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6 07 2007
mark

That’s one reason I did not pursue paleontology in grad school. When I finally got around to checking out theses done at the school I went to, I found they were all “Conodonts and Stratigraphy of the ____ Formation, Western Tennessee.” (That, and a GSA article discussing different fields, numbers of opening and numbers of applicants.) So years later, paleontology seems so much more interesting and active.

6 07 2007
laelaps

You’re right Mark; as other scientists have pointed out, we seem to be living in a “golden age” of paleontology where more is coming out of the ground (and dusty drawers) than we seemingly know what to do with. It still seems that picking forams under a microscope is a rite of passage for everyone, however, although my first real research is falling more in the field of paleobotany. When I’m done the school geology museum still has plenty of work for me, though, so at least I’ll get some more experience (which is rather hard to come by, at least for me).

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