Nanotyrannus: Up Hell Creek Without a Paddle

Hey there every peoples!

Dinosaurs may seem cool on their face. But once you get into them they start heaping up their own kinds of problems. I usually tell people one of the reasons I stick with mammals is that dinosaur taxonomy is a complete freaking mess. It is always changing with families sunk and started all over the place. One relation may exist today, but it could be revised tomorrow. This is how science works, but hell if it aint hard to keep track of. But, some disputes over taxonomy can last longer than others. Especially when the evidence is scant. Here we are going to look at one of the most heated taxonomic debates since “Toroceratops” (in fact, it’s been around for 3 times as long).

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Yep, Commercialists are the Problem

Hey there every peoples!

What the hell happened? Well, i don’t know. I’ll try to finish Australia when i can. But right now i want to talk about the commercial fossil trade once again. I once tried to defend the commercialists. But after a certain incident i have seen the error on my ways. Thee nothing redeemable about them. They are destroying the ancient heritage of everyone in a gross, twisted mockery of a noble scientific profession all in the name of making a buck. Commercialists need to be stopped if the fossil record is to survive at all.

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S.O.S.: Save the Buena Vista Museum!

Hey there every peoples!

I figured that for once I won’t be the only depressed person! That’s right I’m taking you all down with me! Bwahahahahahaha!

But seriously, this is depressing news. I just visited the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History in Bakersfield and learned a most awful truth. They’re in danger of losing their enviable collection of marine fossils from Sharktooth Hill! What’s happening is that the fossils have been on display for the last 15 years due to a loan from a private collector (Bob Ernst, who wanted to create a place to display local fossils). Well as noted in my “Sources of Inspiration” post, Bob tragically passed away a few years ago. I guess whoever gained control over his estate has decided to auction off the fossils. If the museum can’t come up with the dough by December 1, their priceless collection of marine fossils will be lost forever. Just look at what’s at stake:

Nearly complete skeleton of Allodesmus, an ancient sea lion

I wanted to weep when i saw this...

A skeleton of a juvenile baleen whale

Seriously, what is anyone going to do with a fossil whale skeleton?

The soccer ball-sized skull of a leatherback turtle

And it's gone. How many of those are known? Jesus christ...

A large case that once housed the the skulls, jaws, and other bones of the ancient dolphin Prosqualidon...

... is now emptier than a tea party canidate's rhetoric...

And those aren’t the only things. They have loads more that is being packed up and shipped to auction storage as we speak (including preciously rare fossils of the giant sea bird Osteodontornis). This is a tragedy of Shakespearean magnitude. Bob spent the later part of his life hunting for fossils to fill a museum that would teach people about Kern County’s rich fossil heritage. And now his dream will be shattered. I admit that the fossils are the property of whoever now possesses them and they are free to do as they wish with their newfound fossils. But that can’t mean I can’t condemn them for their actions! Shame on you for destroying a valued local resource you materialistic weasel! You could very easily have just donated the specimens to the museum. But I guess you heard how much fossils can fetch and decided that getting a fat sum of money is more important than fulfilling a good man’s wish.

But you can help! The museum is trying to raise as much money as possible to save what they can. Any amount will help because it all adds up! Their goal is $150,000. Please do what you can. This collection is the result of one man’s passion and has taught thousands of people about one of the best known fossil sites in the world. And as the pictures show, many rare and important specimens are at risk of being lost to not only science but also the public and most importantly the people of Kern County themselves! Please help the Buena Vista Museum save their crown jewels! (click on the pictures to go to my flickr album and see all the other fossils being thrown on the auction block!)

Help! Save me!

Till next time!

Addendum: new efforts to save the fossils here: