Watch Morne Mamlambo prepare a 4-million-year-old fossilized penguin

Originally published at: Watch Morne Mamlambo prepare a 4-million-year-old fossilized penguin | Boing Boing

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Not a fan of all the social media vids of people ‘finding’ stuff in nature and then doing something fascinating with it. The advice for nature walks has always been ‘take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but your own footprints’ which this guy clearly doesn’t respect.
In this case a simple rock becomes a great specimen for science and learning, so perhaps it’s acceptable? But why teach unknown millions of viewers that the stuff you find in nature is just there for the taking.

The question is, what would we have learned if it had been studied by a professional before preparation? I wonder what palaeontologists think of amateur fossil hunters

Maybe a strange thing to get hung up on, but am I the only one put off by writing (and headlines like in this case) that implicitly presume reader familiarity with some random person? Reading this I’m not mainly thinking “Ooh, cool fossils ahead”, but also “What? Who tf is Morne Mamlambo?” Regardless of the ethical questions brought up above (which are definitely worth discussing!), i find this to a bad habit for writers. When you’re informing someone of something, don’t project your own familiarity with the subject matter into them please. That just feels alienating.


Many years ago, from Fark of all places, I made contact with a guy who worked at a museum in Colorado. I was able to visit and he gave us a tour of the place (lots of flying reptile fossils!) including the back room where I got to see a huge coelacanth in mid cleaning. It was heading to Korea when done.

Super cool. I would like to learn how to do this someday.!


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