Under the fiery sun of the wilderness, a man who thoroughly scraps the ancient stone. The frenzied fedora offers what passes for shade in these harsh conditions. With every carefully controlled scratch, a lost world appears – the time of monsters you have never seen – the layers seem to glow with potential.
This is not a scene from the next movie Indiana Jones ; this is a kind of prose writer Douglas Preston, who uses his latest New Yorker, which last week, as an asteroid, closed the chalk. It also happens to be this sort of grim, macho, lonely scholar stereotype legend that must disappear.
Preston's report is as bloated as a bronzosaur, but the main story goes: In 2012 a fossil collector presented a graduate student of paleontology Robert Depalma to what looked like such fossilization at approximately 66 million annual layers from North Dakota. The delicate fish that was there first seemed like a rumble. But, Preston writes as he clings to Depalma, he still finds more. In addition to the fish, there were dropped trees, remnants of marine organisms where they should not have, dinosaur bones, dinosaur eggs, and dinosaur feathers. Depalma assumed that the object was created when the massive asteroid struck the current Yucatan Peninsula, sending debris into the air that later rained on this site when seismic waves burst into the local body of water, killing the area's residents before burial. This happened in the minutes and hours after the blow, recording death in the closing moments of the chalk to a degree that is not seen elsewhere. Depalma called the site of Tanis as the nod of the missing Egyptian city look in The Raptured The Ark of the Lost Ark .
Wild claims in this story became a surprise, especially when word spread that there is paper mentioning what was revealed in Tanis, North Dakota. The press service was trying to fire journalists on Friday for the initial scientific description of the site, and the National Academy of Sciences files lifted the embargo early, although the document itself was not provided to all researchers by Monday. Who has the newspaper, who is not, why the leakage has occurred, and whether the research supports what the bomber member has promised that paleontologists have been busy in social media for days. From my side, it was hard to keep my distrust of a story that seemed more and more unknown and unknown.
As a paleontologist commented there is something in the history of everyone in this area to hate. Taking into account the interruption of the embargo, Twitter was furious with questions, criticism, defenses, and hot pursuits. Now that the newspaper has finally been published – a sedemetological study by a dozen authors in which the only revealed dinosaur bone is a lean fragment of the thigh, questions remain about the fantastic claims of the New York article, the ethics of how fossils gathered can to be technically only for museums from DePalma about whether New Yorker's forehead lift claims are true.
Science is a discussion of theories, not a library of documents.
In all the opposite and following, there is one particular point that really annoys me. Readers were immediately fascinated by the New Yorker story. And why not? This is a tale of desert adventure for a brave scientist who wants to outline what happened on one of the most scandalous days in the history of the Earth. Why non-bird dinosaurs and so many other forms of life have disappeared 66 million years ago and are of general interest, especially since the next mass extinction in the world seems to be well under way. This meant that it was an opportunity to emphasize the best of the field, to tell a rich story that attracted all the various voices and perspectives working paleontology in the 21st century to endure. We did not get that story. Instead, we got the same sexist person for one person in one place with fossils that will understand everything.
Do not get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with Indiana Jones' little fairway – I can tell you from your own years when you were working on a southwest terrain that paleontologists are not dusty old fossils. They also have fun bones. But under the image of Depalma in which the pulp is being played, there is something else that is a dead young man who struggles with a tough academic system, bending under the sun of North Dakota to wrap the gypsum bandages around the bones of the missing titans. This not only perpetuates the original genius, which is obviously false, but highlights the deeply rooted problem of paleontology with male privileges.
Searching and learning the lost life is constantly described as human science. The contribution of pioneer paleontologists, such as Philip and Mary Anning, is often overshadowed in historical figures by figures such as the fraudulent British anatomist Richard Owen; irritating, warring Bone Wars experts E.D. Cope and O.C. Marsh of the end of the 19th century; and perhaps the first prototype of the modern macho man in the field for his exploits in Mongolia, Roy Chapman Andrews. The Dinomania wave of the 1980s and 1990s, which many young paleontologists and fossil fans grew up with only doubled images, with numerous documentaries with bearded actors dressed in specialists like Jack Horner and Bob Baker, , which was further emphasized by the fictional Alan Grant of Park Jurassic Park . The image of the paleontologist has long been a definitely man, pale and dust-covered, never without his sure-fire wide-hat, a trend that is now established by the New Yorker's blow to a field fan. Preston's story enjoys mythology. As he himself admits, the story of Depalma sounded like a real version of his novel The Tyrannosaurry Canyon in which the more often the hero must defend the discovery of the dinosaur of the century against the conspiratorial forces of the species. in a novel by Tom Clancy. The tropics were already there to be renewed.
It would be one thing if the storyline of deceiving heroes-scientists-amazing discoveries is one of the many kinds of talk about how we make progress in this area. But that's the only thing we ever seem to get with paleontology, and in this case just does not fit into the published results. The allegations that made New York's story so popular and shared are not all included in the article this week – DePalma's team said it has reduced some of them to get the first publishing book faster. Depalma claims that researchers should only speak about what is in the article, as if the mass graveyard of dinosaurs was never mentioned. But how could anyone not speak about what he claimed to be a dinosaur that is full of fossils of almost every kind, to eggs and plumage?
Preston's bombed piece was casual and sensational to reach the audience before the scientific results could be published, discussed, and questioned. Opportunities and uncertainties were redrafted as facts that the rest of the scientific community would just do. This should not be the way science works or journalism science.
The reason for the existence of an embargo is to give journalists and researchers time to talk to explore new discoveries and determine what history is, whether it is worth saying, and whether there is anything suspicious of what it is. This is the standard practice of scientific news, whether we are talking about dinosaurs or questionable news about health and psychology that are part of the science's replication crisis. Science is a discussion of theories, not a library of documents.
Longer time would allow to tell a more cautious story, perhaps one that could include some of the most diverse voices in the field that will no doubt now investigate and test the fantastic claims that Preston and Depalm are done. This work will go a long way behind the scenes, in the labs, magazines and conferences, breaking the broken trunks to get to the main reality. But this is not a story for scientists trying to keep a young man, as Preston's story suggests. Paleontologists want to be thrilled by such a find. But they also want to see the research done. It's like the old math warning – show your work.