Annie Alexander loved paleontology and the outdoors. She used her financial acumen to support the paleo program at UC-Berkeley. She is important as one of the earliest American LGBTQIA paleontologists. She loved adventure and exploring the world with her close companion Louise Kellogg.
A dinosaur named Sue shows the complicated history of diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness in paleontology. Sue was discovered by a woman on Native American land, and her story involves court cases, an FBI raid, and a multimillion dollar auction. Importantly, Sue’s story illustrates the complicated intersection of geosciences and Native American rights.
The letters written between Florence Bascom and her mentor Victor Goldschmidt describe their close bond. Their letters also describe the tragedy faced by Goldschmidt as a result of World War I and the post-war economic crisis in Germany. In these letters we see a side of Bascom most biographies fail to mention. Bascom’s relationship with Goldschmidt shaped her into the “Stone Lady” we celebrate today.
We stand on the shoulders of giants. Florence Bascom owes her success to a series of strong mentors who helped her thrive in a discriminatory world. She in turn mentored many of the top women in geology and paleontology of the 20th Century. Her story shows the power of mentors to make geosciences more inclusive.
Florence Bascom faced discrimination throughout her life that left her isolated. I discuss Bascom’s struggles with discrimination and use that to highlight the abuse and bias women still face in geosciences.
Florence Bascom forever changed the landscape of geology in the United States. She was the first woman professional geologist in the US, and she made many contributions that are still cited today. She truly was a foundational scientist.
Shen Kuo wrote about UFOs and the metaphysical in the same text in which he detailed amazing scientific work. Shen’s work “Dream Pool Essays” is more akin to a series of Reddit posts than a scientific journal, but does that make him less of a scientist? Or is our view of science a culturally-biased concept?
Mary Ann Martell may have discovered Iguanodon, but all the credit was given to her husband. She was an amazing paleontologist and illustrator, and this week I briefly discuss her amazing discovery.
Shen Kuo was a talented 11th Century Chinese paleontologist. He wrote at length about sedimentation, geomorphology, marine fossils in mountain peaks and how the distribution of fossil bamboo meant climate had changed through time. He was a foundational paleontologist, and we should know more about him.
I introduce Chinese scientist Shen Kuo who wrote about paleontology in the 11th Century. I then ask “who invented paleontology.” The answer may surprise you.