Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fun with Paleontologists

Considering a situation that a friend of mine found themselves in, it reminds me of a story from GSA. The players in this are - Myself (an awestruck paleontologist, excited to meet someone famous), an initially awe inspiring Famous Vertebrate Paleontologist (FVP), and My Advisor, a famous Ichnologist:

My Advisor was talking to said FVP and introduced me. Now since my advisor is a famous Ichnologist, so mentioned FVP would obviously assume I knew nothing about verts, so that is understandable.

My Advisor: "FVP I would like you to meet my new student"

FVP: talking to me "You wouldn't know anything about me"

Myself: "Oh actually I do, I sent you an email because I really wanted to work on my PhD with you" seeing blank stare I continued "about 2 years ago. My masters is in vertebrate paleontology, but I eventually ended up in Utah"

FVP: "Oh well, I hope your having fun there"

And off he went to talk to a fellow grad student. I felt like no more than dandruff on his sleeve and he couldn't wait to leave that conversation. I found out later from my advisor that he is frequently referred to as Arrogant with a capital "A", so I don't feel as bad, but really. This is actually the impression I get from a good chunk of vertebrate paleontologists (~65%), the I'm better than you and I know everything attitude, and that was one of the reasons I decided to leave the field (at least temporarily) in the first place.


  1. Funny. That has been my experience, too. As a high school student, I visited a small university in the northern Rockies, since they had a "dinosaur guy" who I thought might be fun to work with.

    Well, dino guy didn't seem all that interested. I did get a tour of their lab from one of the preparators, and left with the feeling that vert paleo might not be my favorite thing in the world. So now I look at snails. Go figure.

  2. Yea, go figure. I know a lot of vert paleo people and some of them are great people. But they have a tendancy to get trampled on by the "one's above us all".

  3. The best part about it, is that I can still go dig dinosaurs if I want to...


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