Sunday, 29 May 2011

Blogging with Dinosaurs

Time disappears a little too quickly when your very busy, but still having fun! Fifty Seven blogs later and a year has passed and I am stilling finding time to write about the wee timorous beasties (such as Archaeopteryx below)...not all were so 'wee' I suppose.

The bulk of my time these past few months spent organising this year's field season and writing-up research. I will soon have teams of palaeontologists, biologists and geologists coming from the UK, Spain and the USA to help dig a site that we have in the Hell Creek Formation. This will keep my field team and I up to our armpits in dirt, a happy place, while the Jurassic CSI series is transmitted in the USA.

Planning for the excavation has several hoops that needed to be jumped through...all very necessary. Earlier this year I had to complete formalities with the suitable authorities to arrange access to the said dig site. This has been done and we are now waiting for the final say on the excavation paperwork.

Funding such excavations is not much fun. The economy is hardly booming and this impacts directly on many areas of research, especially in the UK. Last year I had to use my own savings to keep some of my field team in South Dakota. I should say, it is not uncommon for palaeontologists to dip into their own pockets to fund digs. I am still hunting for funds from various places to see if I can keep the 18 folks on my field team in a mosquito populated, arid, windy, sunburnt, dirt-shifting 'heaven' for a month.

For those of you who have been following the blog from last May, a big Thank You! In the past year you will have read how palaeontology can comfortably hold its head high, when it comes to the relevance of our research to everyday life. The information that we are now able to glean from the fossil record is influencing many fields, including; climate research, the burial of waste, long-term storage of radioactive waste and the impact of oil spills and suchlike on living species and many other crucial areas.

Whilst our research is firmly anchored in the past, we set our sights on its application to the future.

1 comment:

  1. Hiya Phil, Thanks for the blog and pics, Good luck finding funds if I win lotto I'll be sure to share a slice.