Bias in the Fossil Record Blog

Portraits of Ibn Sina, Nicolas Steno, and James Hutton. The background is a picture of layered rocks from the Grand Canyon

Ibn Sina and the History of Geology

Who invented geology? That question is harder to answer than you think. In this post, I write about James Hutton, Comte de Buffon, Nicolas Steno, and Rene Descartes, and suggest that even though Ibn Sina beat them to the punch, nobody really invented geology. Fundamental principles of geology have just been derived by different people in different times and places because of geology’s universal nature.

A photo of mountains and hills with trees in the foreground with a lithograph of Ibn Sina in the lower left corner

Ibn Sina: The “True” Father of Geology

Ibn Sina was a Persian scientist who in the 1000’s invented the geologic concepts of superposition and uniformitarianism. He also correctly deduced how fossils were formed and used them to reconstruct Earth’s history. He has a good claim to be the true “founding father” of geology.

A woman with a hat looks on as men dig for fossils

Finding Her Way: Annie Alexander (Part 1)

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 large tyrannosaurus rex fossil skeleton in a museum display

Micro Musings: Sue the T. rex

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.

Old photo of a woman and five men near lab equipment with portraits of young woman and man with mustache

The Bascom-Goldschmidt Letters (Florence Bascom, Part IV)

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.

A group of three portraits of men on the left and a young woman on the right.

On the Shoulders of Giants: Florence Bascom (Part III)

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.

Loading…

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.


Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.