Sunday, November 14, 2010

No, I'm Not Dead.....

.... just tied up with grant deadlines. Ugh. Anyway, one good solution to having no time to write one's own blog posts is to link to other people's posts that I've enjoyed. With this in mind, check out this great post from New Light on Old Bones, and the follow-up post, which look at the nature of "real" in natural history museums. Should be required reading for any Bentonites out there. And if nothing else, you'll want to watch the 1932 video of a tiger fighting a python.


  1. Glad you enjoyed the pair of posts.
    Interesting to read the Bentonite stuff, I'm kind-of with him on exhibiting casts in this day and age. It's not like 100 years ago when local museums were the only places to see this stuff.

  2. Happy to give your great blog a plug, but I have to take issue with the subject of displaying casts. Benton's comments were specifically aimed at vertebrate paleontology, an area where original material of display quality is incredibly rare and where countries of origin are (understandably) very reluctant to allow specimens to be exported for permanent display overseas. Under the circumstances, a cast may be all that you have.

    As I wrote in the post, seeing the cast of Diplodocus at NHM when I was a child was a powerful experience and a big influence on my future career. I've also seen the original at the Carnegie and I have to say that, spectacular as it is, it didn't come close to the impact that the cast made on my 6 year-old self. I guess I'm just too old and jaded now....

  3. I agree, that was why I only kind-of agreed.
    I think casts of exceptional, rare, high quality specimens have a real part to play.
    But there are too many casts of poor quality, of common material. There's also too much use of casts in handling, where real material could be used. And there's too much 'gratutitous' use of casts, where there's little relevance or purpose to the museum.