Friday, October 7, 2022

Unconformity: A MAR Movie Review


Have you seen the movie Unconformity? It’s a great Indie film about a geology graduate student doing fieldwork in Nevada and finding herself along the way. We were asked to watch it recently and let us tell you, it’s accurate enough that watching it felt like a fever dream watching our own lives. She finds amazing fossils, she climbs, she gives herself food poisoning in the Nevada desert – and yes, both Amy & Meaghan have done all three and have been to the location where this was filmed.  The film is out now on Amazon and Tubi in select countries and will be available worldwide on YouTube on November 15th.

We too have spent hours up at night cuddling the precious by headlamps… (note, she finds something way cooler than the ring of power in this movie)

Not only is the film a great and beautiful depiction of some of the realities of geology and paleontology, it also hits on some really important topics that plague Academia including sexism, career advancement, and power control issues. To this effect Unconformity also comes along with a guide on how to use the movie to facilitate conversations about these problems, which is available for any university or club to use. We were really excited about this aspect and the movie in general so we sat down with the director Jonathan DiMaio to discuss the movie and its impact a little further.

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.