Paleontology in Latin America has until recently been marked by Europeans and Americans taking fossils without giving credit to local scientists. This is sometimes called colonial paleontology and is a main reason why paleontology lacks diversity.
Franz Nopcsa was a baron, spy, and paleontologist who was nearly crowned King of Albania. He made many discoveries that were ahead of his time and founded the science of paleobiology. Yet you have likely never heard of him.
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.
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.