You can’t say we didn’t try.

As Stephen Colbert ends his long run as the bombastic, willfully ignorant television talk show host of The Colbert Report, I’m wistful that we never landed him as a Steve.

stephen colbert

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A creationist group is organizing an event at a major university (unnamed, since I certainly don’t want to promote the event), and some scientists there wanted advice on how to respond. One approach we discussed was using humor to push back. I love the idea, but it's not as simple as you'd think. How can satire and humor work? And how can they backfire? Read on.

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Last week I presented you with a pretty easy fossil, but in my defense you haven’t been the quickest in identifying plants in the past…

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This week on Fossil Friday, I bring you another fossil from our Fossil Fan, Gerald Wilgus. Gerald photographed this fossil while on his motorcycle adventure across the West. I felt like I could really relate to this fossil in particular—not because of its vegetarian lifestyle or love of water, but being eight months pregnant, I feel about as big as this fellow, lugging its unwieldy body across the Miocene plains. Ugh!

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This week's Fossil Friday comes from another Fossil Fan: Gerald Wilgus!  Gerald snapped this picture on his travels through the Ashfall Fossil Beds site in Nebraska earlier this week.  Dating from the Miocene, this is just a small piece of the entire body - and I won't tell you which part as I like to keep our fans on their toes (hint! hint!).

Can you identify this fossil? First person to get it wins bragging rights for the week!

 

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This past week on Fossil Friday, I gave you a fossil from our Fossil Fan, Dan Coleman. Dan told us that he wasn't quite sure what it was, but he had some thoughts. You all had a lot of great guesses too.

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This week on Fossil Friday, I bring you a true fossil mystery from Fossil Friday Fan Dan Coleman! Dan tells me that he found this specimen on the Taylor Ridge I-75 road cut in Ringold, Georgia, and it dates from the late Ordovician to early Silurian. 

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I have a three-year-old daughter who is obsessed with Curious George. I think I can recite every word to every one of the 102 episodes, which means that I know roughly 102 scenarios in which the Man with the Yellow Hat tells George, “Be a good little monkey,” which in turn means my daughter is familiar with the 102 scenes in her favorite show that make her mother yell “APE!” Yes, Curious George is not a monkey; he is a chimpanzee, which makes him an ape, as the Man with the Yellow Hat should well know as a scientific illustrator of some kind and with a scientist (who, alas, wears a lab coat) for a best friend. But I am digressing a little bit because ape vs. monkey is not the subject of this post. The subject is:

Misconception: Humans evolved from monkeys.

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This week on Fossil Friday, I gave you what looked like a plate full of ramen noodles—or maybe it was plain old spaghetti. Nope. Raymond King knew it almost right away: it was a slew (a herd? a flock? a murder?) of brittle stars. Meanwhile Dan Coleman guessed that it came from the Miocene—good call!

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This week on Fossil Friday, I have a terrible head cold—achoo!

In my delirium, between sneezes, hot tea, and blowing my nose, I was able to scrounge up a fossil that is a perfect represention for exactly how stuffed up my head feels right now. This picture is stuffed to the brim with one type of organism!

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