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Paleo-Dave
Chicago
I'm a volunteer docent at the Field Museum of Natural History, but in my day job, I'm a particle physicist at Fermilab.
Interests: I'm interested in paleontology and the history of life on earth, with an especially soft spot for dinosaurs.
Recent Activity
Paleo-Dave is now following EPOD - a service of USRA
2 days ago
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If I could visit only one paleo-destination in the United States, I would choose the Petrified Forest. The names of the locales within this national park – The Painted Desert, the Rainbow Forest, Blue Mesa – are evocative of the natural beauty of the place. Although the name “Petrified Forest”... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2015 at The Paleo-Tourist
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Amateur paleontology lost a good friend this week with the passing of Barb Hill Benson. Barb was a leader in the Utah Friends of Paleontology Castle Valley Chapter and worked with the Prehistoric Museum in Price, Utah, as well as in the prep lab at Utah State University Eastern. A... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2015 at The Paleo-Tourist
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The next stop on my road trip came as I was driving through Coconino County, Arizona along a section of Interstate 40 that used to be part of the famous Route 66. I was looking forward to seeing the Petrified Forest, but a sign informed me that I was not... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2015 at The Paleo-Tourist
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The first stop on my road trip was Ernst Quarries, site of a rich deposit of Miocene fossils near Bakersfield, California. The Ernst Quarries are located near Sharktooth Hill, which yielded the first fossils in America to be found west of the Rocky Mountains. The hill actually does bear a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2015 at The Paleo-Tourist
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It’s been nearly 3 weeks since I set out on a road trip across the United States and I’m now settling in to the great Commonwealth of Virginia. My trip took me from the San Francisco Bay to the Chesapeake in 9 days, arriving at last in Yorktown. The USA... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2015 at The Paleo-Tourist
Summer is here and the paleo-tourist is set for a road trip. For the next week or so, I'll be driving across the USA, setting out from the San Francisco Bay area and heading for the Chesapeake. I'll be seeking out paleontological points of interest along the way, so let's... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2015 at The Paleo-Tourist
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As a school child studying a map of the world I noticed how South America and Africa seem to fit together and wondered if, somehow, they ever did. I certainly wasn’t the only one to wonder this, but until the middle of the 20th Century, the answer from the experts... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2015 at The Paleo-Tourist
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I visited the California Academy of Sciences this weekend, one of several attractions in San Francisco's scenic Golden Gate Park. It's actually several museums rolled into one, including the Kimball Natural History Museum, the Morrison Planetarium and the Steinhart Aquarium. The admission is $35 (planetarium show not included) but you... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2015 at The Paleo-Tourist
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My friend Jim gave me a fossilized clam a few weeks ago. It’s a nice one; I have it on my bookcase in a place of honor. Thoughtfulness makes things special. Jim found it on the beach near his home in Half Moon Bay. There are sandstone cliffs nearby and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2015 at The Paleo-Tourist
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Season's Greetings, paleo-tourists! I was passing through Chicago yesterday and saw that my old friend, the Brachiosaurus, is decked out for the holidays. Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2014 at The Paleo-Tourist
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I was in Chicago this weekend and, as usual, I spent an afternoon facilitating in the Field Museum’s Evolving Planet exhibit. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “facilitating” in this context, it’s the museum’s technical term for what we volunteer docents are doing when we’re hanging around the exhibits and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2014 at The Paleo-Tourist
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Hello again, paleo-tourists, it’s time to catch up on things. I visited Peru again this summer and one of the most wonderful spots there is the Paracas National Reserve. The Paracas Reserve is like no place I’ve seen before; perhaps like no place else on earth. It’s a vast desert... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2014 at The Paleo-Tourist
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A few years ago I posted a note on the Stanford Paleoparadoxia, a 10 million-year-old aquatic mammal found during the construction of SLAC National Laboratory. Time for an update: SLAC is undergoing some renovations and the old building housing the Visitors’ Center has been torn down (along with the cafeteria,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2014 at The Paleo-Tourist
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I was in Chicago this weekend and went in to the Field Museum on Saturday. As usual, I gave a tour of the Evolving Planet exhibit, but I went in a bit early to check out a new exhibit that will open next week. It’s called The Machine Inside and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2014 at The Paleo-Tourist
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The trains no longer come to Cincinnati’s Union Terminal. As with most of America’s passenger rail system, it long ago gave way to the automobile and Cincinnati today sits in the confluence of several interstate highways. The old Union Terminal, however, has found new life as the Cincinnati Museum Center.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2014 at The Paleo-Tourist
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The Jewel of the Twin Creek Valley A couple months ago I went on a family visit to my wife’s hometown of Germantown, Ohio. Germantown is a quiet and picturesque town set amid the farming communities of southern Ohio, the quintessential small town, USA. I half expected to see Andy... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2013 at The Paleo-Tourist
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I hadn’t realized it when I came here, but Maryland is Dinosaur Country. The first dinosaur bones to be recognized as such in America were found in New Jersey in 1858. It was only a year later that dinosaur remains were found in Maryland, in the form of Astrodon johnstoni,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2013 at The Paleo-Tourist
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I’m back in the Washington area for a while, so I spent last Sunday afternoon in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. There’s a display on the ground floor called Whales from Bone to Book. The focus is whales, but it’s largely about how whale bones and fossils are documented... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2013 at The Paleo-Tourist
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I visited the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington yesterday and set out for the Reptile House. I had read about the Reptile House (now known as the Reptile Discovery Center) in The Artist Who Saw Through Time and I wanted to see the artwork that Charles Knight had put into... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2013 at The Paleo-Tourist
It's time to dust off this blog. I haven't written anything in six months, whether it's writer's block, lack of inspiration or just plain laziness I don't know, but as I passed through O'Hare airport in Chicago today and saw the Field Museum's Brachiosaurus staring down at me, I felt... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2013 at The Paleo-Tourist
I just posted a book review on Goodreads: The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin My rating: 5 of 5 stars Since this book is a scientific classic, I assume there is little need to explain what it's about, but just in case you've spent your entire life in a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2013 at The Paleo-Tourist
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We’re well into the new year now and there are few odds and ends I never got around to writing about in 2012. In September I visited Utah to participate in a fossil dig for the Prehistoric Museum, but on the way home, our group visited the Natural History Museum... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2013 at The Paleo-Tourist
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I received a wonderful book for Christmas: Charles R. Knight, The Artist Who Saw Through Time by Richard Milner. I grew up with Charles Knight, even though he died before I was born. His paintings of prehistoric animals, from dinosaurs to Dimetrodons fascinated me as a youngster. They have been... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2013 at The Paleo-Tourist
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I saw that Jim Lehane recently posted an archive photo of the Huntington Mammoth on his blog at The Geology P.A.G.E. The mammoth is at the Prehistoric Museum in Price, Utah. The exhibit was still under development when Jim's photo was taken. Here's an update for it, complete with a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2012 at The Paleo-Tourist