"Why Kids Find the Darndest Prehistoric Things" Discussion Thread

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I wasn’t a kid, I was mid-twenties and working on a commercial scallop boat on the George’s bank. One evening the dredge brought up its usual load of rocks and scallops but among them were rock-hard objects formed in the perfect shape of the interior of a sea scallop shell, some half the size of a discus. We all picked the live scallops out of the mess but some of us also scrabbled madly among the mess on deck, setting aside what we hoped were valuable fossils. Other crew members were just shoveling everything overboard, grumbling about us wasting time. We brought our finds back to Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst. where we were informed that they were indeed formed from mud that had filled a sea scallop shell, were between 2 to 20 million years old, and would make nice paper weights. Our dreams of fame were shattered but mine still sits on my desk and is, indeed, an excellent paper weight.

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My niece heard that I was a 007 fan, looked on the internet and found this picture of Sean Connery and said: “Is he prehistoric now?” And-well-I suppose he is! :wink:

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In 2015 I was showing my 6 year daughter the flint cobbles that litter the small beach where the Dordogne & Vezere rivers meet in SW France. The whole area is littered with prehistoric sites including Lascaux. Anyway, I was doing a little impromtu flint knapping for the kids, when my daughter found a fossilized bone sticking out of the riverside mud. I photo’d it from all angles with measurements and posted it on an archaeo website. Within mins a prof at a Swedish Uni identified it as the foreleg of an Aurochs, the extinct wild cattle featured so prominently on the walls of the nearby Lascaux caves.

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That is awesome !!! But did you have to give the bone to the university excavation team ?

A few years ago my son (4 at the time) and I found some Nodosaur bones near our house. I have been helping prep them when able at the university where we got them donated. They are working on naming it still. https://youtu.be/MWA5VCBfFvQ

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Sean Connery looks more pre-historic in ‘Zardoz’.
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It’s really the future but in that backwards way like Planet of the Apes. It’s from the '70’s so don’t expect too much.

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Oh, Mama! And he’s got his pistol in his hand… :laughing:

I used to collect ammonite fossils quite a lot as a kid and have fond memories of finding them on the sea shore. Somewhere in my families house must be a dust covered box with my fossil collection in it.

Back to the article, I think the writer of the article is absolutely right, Kids find things because they haven’t lost their innate curiosity for the world around them , it hasn’t been jaded by the cynicism of adult life or had it beaten out of them by “higher” educational institutes.

It isn’t just paleontological specimens that children often find either , I’ve read about kids discovering new species of insects like beetles purely through being curious and documenting what they find.

At the moment I’m reading “Naturalists in paradise” by the author and Amazonian specialist John Hemming which is about the expeditions of the eminent scientists like Alfred Russel Wallace, Henry Bates and Richard Spruce in the Amazon. According to Hemming all of those guys as children were absolutely obsessed with collecting natural history specimens and made discoveries of new species and , of course , we now know , that from these humble beginings they went on to even greater scientific discoveries.

But for every one person who follows their passion there are many who for various reasons are not able to. I find it very sad to think , that there are so many kids who clearly have a passion for natural history and a propensity to be scientists and end up having their parents career expectations or “schooling” shoved down their throats and inevitably lose that passion.

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When I was 23 I was walking to the store, had to cross railroad tracks and located a trilobite in the gravel they used. This was in Flint, Michigan and I think they get the gravel from the Great Lakes. It was an awesome find. Thank you for letting me share my story.

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How neato! That’s really exciting.

Have you read The Lost City of Z by David Grann? I read it about a month ago and it was a fascinating true story. Skip the movie though, it was really terrible, not a documentary.

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Hi Tamar ,

I haven’t read that book yet , but I’m definitely going to get round to it eventually. I read another book recently about the Villas Boas brothers and their programe to develop the Xingu reserve in Brazil for indigenous peoples that has peaked my interest in the Fawcett case.

In that book (“People of the rainforest” - John Hemming) the author sort of reviews the evidence that Claudio Villas Boas uncovered about the fate of Fawcett which is quite compelling and fascinating.