Wednesday, April 13, 2022

How to Get a B.S. in Paleontology

There are no Paleontology undergraduate degrees. A B.S. in Paleontology is exactly that – BS, or bullshit.

Ok, calm down, we don't mean you can't go study paleontology as an undergraduate – it's just that there's no easy "paleontology major."

See, paleontology is an incredibly broad and interdisciplinary field. We cover the study of life from its beginnings until now, an incredible swath of time and lifeforms. We are, as they say, a bit of a know it all!

Amy studies none of these, really, but she has to know about all of them anyway

We have to be know-it-alls, really - if you are digging up a dinosaur, you need to know how to find that dinosaur what type of rock to look for, you need to understand the rock well enough to know what happened to that dinosaur, you need to be able to identify the bones, you need to be able to safely excavate them and then use chemicals to preserve them, and you need to be able to do the writing and the math it requires to study and describe them. That's a lot of skills!

With that many skills it's not surprising that paleontologists can end up in all sorts of departments as a result. Between the two of them, Meaghan and Amy have both taught in Anthropology, Biology, Geology, Science Education and Information Science - paleontology truly crosses disciplines.

If you are starting your career in paleontology and looking at an undergraduate degree, the above sentences might be a little bit overwhelming. If there is no undergraduate paleontology degree, how can you figure out what school to go to in order to become a paleontologists? 

Well you're in luck, because that's what this blog post is about – this blog post is for you, someone looking to go to an undergraduate serving university and get a degree that will help them become a paleontologist.



Saturday, June 19, 2021

Meaghan's newest project - a paleontology clothing store!

 Have you been wondering where Amy & Meaghan are? We are not dead, we assure you - very much alive, just busy with a thousand different projects. This post is about one big project that Meaghan's been spearheading - a paleontology clothing store called Geopetal Fabric.

Here are some of the cool products Meaghan has made, kindly modelled by awesome local geology friends Valerie and Amy G!

What's with the store name?

A geopetal is a special type of fossil or geode that helps geologists figure out what direction was "up" when a rock was deposited. What typically happens is you have something like a clam or a snail die on the seafloor. They fill partially with sand and mud but because nobody is going around squishing sediment into these shells (that would be a weird job), there's often an empty space left inside the shell.

Over time, water moves through the now-hardening sediment and deposits minerals inside these shells, making them kind of like a half-sand and half-geode structure. When a geologist finds one of these half-geode clams, they know that the sparkly mineral side was the "up" side, while the sandy side was the "down" side. Petal in this case means "to point", but these pretty little clam geodes kind of look like petals, which is the reasoning behind Meaghan's logo. And when you have a lot of these little clam geodes, the scientific term is a "fabric" - hence the term geopetal fabric.

The sparkly wiggly clam geode logo


What type of clothing?

Lots and lots of different types, and the list is ever-expanding, but Meaghan's store is focusing on subtler science prints. For example, this adorable print looks like an interesting polka dot design to most people, but it's actually featuring conodont teeth - ancient microscopic eel-like creatures. 


I call this the Eeleganza print. 



And of course, nothing is better than a good subtle rude joke so here's a gorgeous, glamorous silk scarf Meaghan is modelling that has the Priapulid Paisley design on it... aka, the Penis Worm Print. Oh yes, the 14 days of genitals may be over (thank fuck) but we still out here making dick jokes. 


Penis worms but make it fashion


So if you're looking for something funny, pretty, and paleontology-themed, you should check out Meaghan's store, or follow her accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. And if you're looking for more blog content, you can subscribe to her blog where she talks in detail about her patterns and their inspiration. 



Monday, April 22, 2019

Tips for Making Your Paper Have Broad Impact




Meaghan here! I have been working for PBS Eons for a few months now as a writer. It has been amazing - I have learned so much about different organisms I never really looked into before, and about the whole process of scientific storytelling.  Some personal moments of pride include a video about climate that went viral, and also slipping a 9 minute dick joke past the PBS censors. And one of the big things I've learned along the way are that there are certain things you can put in scientific papers that make me want to write love sonnets to the authors, and certain things you can omit that make me want to glitterbomb your office. So that's what this blog is about: what can you put in papers so that it's easier for science writers to read them and get the information they need to compose a good piece of science communication about it?

Or: please sweet Jesus help me out, mama needs to not have to read 60 papers and resort to Image-J when trying to figure out how tall a T-Rex was.

Monday, February 11, 2019

She Found Fossils Interview

We haven’t been posting much because, well, we’ve been busy. Busy sciencing, and starting new jobs, and getting engaged, and raising dogs and stuff. But not busy enough to seize the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Eugenia Gold, one of the authors of the oh-so-amazing She Found Fossils. (Also, mother of the baby that features heavily in this article - that's not a random baby, but the baby did have a lot to contribute so we figured the baby was part of the interview too) 

We trapped her at the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting, and made her talk to us, and here is the result!

Amy, Eugenia, and Meaghan going full cheesy at SVP






Friday, November 9, 2018

SVP 2018: a review of the most important parts


The title is all the context you get, because explanations are for fools.



















Special thanks to Keilah, Spencer, and Eric for their patience and excellent modelling skills. A grateful apology to the leprechaun of a museum volunteer who had to lead us around after Meaghan had already consumed half a beer and was thus, basically wasted. And a tip of the hat to the lady who followed us around for much of this - we may not know you, but we appreciated the audience participation. That stalactite DID look like a poop.