I keep my list of regrets short. Right now, it looks like this:
1. I wish I had been obsessed with dinosaurs as a kid.
That fixation would have brought me smack into the world of science in my formative years, when it was most important. Instead, I’ve been on the periphery of science my whole life. I want something different for my daughter—and for every child, for that matter. With that in mind and to celebrate National Fossil Day, we offer two interviews that star two dino-crazed girls: Charlotte and Tallulah.
Interview #1: This is what curiosity sounds like. (audio-only)
In which 5-year-old Charlotte, of Virginia, speaks candidly about her passion for a certain king of dinosaurs with Smithsonian educator Amy Bolton.
Interview #2: Is it hard to become a paleontologist? (a Google Hangout video)
In which 8-yr-old Tallulah, of West Chester, Pennsylvania finds out what it’s like to be a paleobiologist by talking with a luminary in the field, Dr. A. Kay Behrensmeyer, of the National Museum of Natural History.
What about you? Were you ever a walking encycloped-a-saurus? Perhaps you still are. Tell us about YOUR dinosaur—or fossil insects, plants, whales, etc.—phase.
And tomorrow, on National Fossil Day take a few moments to reconnect with your paleo self, or, if you’re like me, cultivate a latent interest in the subject. While you’re putting on your shoes, riding the bus, or sitting at your desk, go ahead and take the Junior Paleontology Pledge:
“As a JUNIOR PALEONTOLOGIST, I promise to:
EXPLORE the ways that paleontologists work;
LEARN about Earth’s history, ancient life, and changes through time; and
PROTECT our public lands, including fossils and rocks in which they are found.
I also promise to have fun and share what I learn with my family and friends."
Editor’s Note: After you’ve taken the pledge, watch paleontologist and National Museum of Natural History’s Sant Director, Dr. Kirk Johnson discuss dinosaur extinction in a recent Smithsonian Science How? webcast.
By Tina Tennessen, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History