Two events for which I am deeply grateful – First, this past week a story about me and my work ran on the website of Le Scienze, the Italian edition of Scientific American. For all those who can read Italian (or who might simply enjoy seeing some of my earlier fossil images) the article can be found HERE. Art and science together as they should be! Thank you once again to Ms Priscilla di Thiene at Le Scienze for the privilege of appearing under your masthead.
Story number two involves the image above (actually, all of today’s images). This rather large and heavy piece of honeycomb coral (that I found a few years ago at my favorite dry creek bed down the road) was just accepted into the collection of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History! This is a first for me and it’s something that has the nerd in me excited and delighted!
Cindy and I drove down to New Haven a couple of weeks ago, not only to deliver the coral but also to spend two days photographing fossils from their invertebrate collection. Again, what an honor and privilege to be allowed into the “stacks” to explore such a well respected collection at such a fine institution.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Ms Susan Butts, Senior Collections Manager of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Peabody. Thanks to her and her fine suggestions I was able to explore and photograph some of the most interesting fossils I’ve ever laid eyes on. She took time out of a very busy schedule not only to show us around but also to engage us on some of the scientific issues that these individual fossils raise. Her enthusiasm for the topic was palpable.
At one point during the visit I asked her about her job. As amazing as it all appeared I wondered if there is ever a moment when she sees it “as a job.” Her simple reply, said with a rather sheepish grin, was “I can’t believe they actually pay me to do this!!”
We also got to meet her boss, Derek Briggs, Director of the Peabody, who was every bit as gracious and welcoming as Susan was. He’s an amazing presence in the world of paleontology. Among his many accomplishments, he was one of three paleontologists who, “…were key in the reinterpretation of the fossils of the Burgess Shale.” In keeping with that, here are two fossils from the Burgess Shale. I do believe that these are some of the very earliest fossils I have ever had access to.
Thanks again, Susan.
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