Every time I look at my inbox and start thinking that I really need to try to cut down on the amount that lands there on a daily or weekly basis, something cool invariably arrives to change my mind. Case in point, this morning’s email from the National Park Service announcing the upcoming arrival of the very first National Fossil Day(TM) on October 13, 2010.
I like fossils. I like love the National Park Service. I had my career-epiphany-moment directly after taking a fossil hike on the rim of the Grand Canyon.
I opened the email.
So what is National Fossil Day? Part of the 2010 Earth Science Week celebrations sponsored by the American Geological Institute, National Fossil Day is “a celebration organized to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational value.”
(In other words, a really good excuse to play in the dirt. I always like those.)
The NPS website is a wealth of interesting information, a “rockin'” interdisciplinary list of activities, and other fascinating and fun stuff. A few highlights include a map of the 230 national parks containing fossils (including ones in Guam and the US Virgin Islands) and fossil highlights from many of those parks, a list of the official state fossils, and a list of events in your area.
If, like me, you take a look at all the amazing activity which is going to be on the National Mall in DC and want to cry into your Pleistocene soup from sheer envy, here are a handful of fun fossil-related activities and articles you can enjoy from the comfort of your desk chair.
Geology for Fossil Hunters, courtesy of the Exploratorium’s very cool site “Evidence: How do we know what we know? Human Origins”. Also including cool videos on virtual fossil reconstruction and other nifty topics.
Professor Allister McFragilis, Dinosaur Geo-Detective. No, seriously. It’s an electronic field trip, or EFT put together by Bryce Canyon National Park, and has both online games and then downloadable lesson plans about geology and specifically fossils.
Dinosaur True Colors Revealed for First Time by pigments remaining in fossilized dino fuzz.
Pterosaur Ornithopter videos. Which are apparently flying vehicles which mimic bird- or bird-like flight, specifically in this case, dino-bird-like-flight. The key to this seems to be that the wings flap, as opposed to fixed-wing aircraft like normal planes. Intrigued? There is actually someone who has built and tested a successful human-powered ornithopter called the Snowbird, with a record setting 19.3 second flight, achieved just last week on September 22nd.
And, of course, more fossil fun activities and links at my previous post, “Dinosaurs, Art Photography, and Toddlers?“