Dinosaur scientists scared of skeletons

dinosaur_skeletonPaleontologists are leaving their field in record numbers, and the problem is skeletons.

“Skeletons are the most scary thing known to science, but unfortunately, that’s what this field is all about,” said Erasmus Cope, Professor of Dinosauric Studies at the University of Alberta.

According to Cope, paleontology is facing a brain drain crisis of brontosaurus proportions.

“We can’t hang onto people. My students become paleontologists because they’ve seen dinosaurs in films and on television. I spend years teaching them biology, geology, biochemistry, radiometric dating, geochemical testing, and biostratigraphy. Then they take one look at a dinosaur skeleton and run away screaming.“

Wenda Trireme is a bowling alley manager in Calgary. At 39, she is just one of those who could not face life as a paleontologist. “I’d spent ten years unearthing a beautifully preserved Dilophosaurus, a therapod from the Early Jurassic period.” says Trireme. “I remember I pulled out the last piece of bone, a portion of the distal humerus, and stuck it on with Dino-Glue Seven. Then suddenly, for the first time, I looked at what I had created. It was a SKELETON! I couldn’t get away fast enough.”

Cope is disappointed by his scared colleagues. “If it was dinosaur ghosts, I’d understand. Ghosts are scary. Who knows what ghosts could do? But dinosaur skeletons can’t hurt you. Even if they came alive, they have no muscles or brain, so they couldn’t move or breathe, and would quickly be dead again.”

“If this goes on, paleontology could go from studying dinosaurs, to becoming a dinosaur,” he quipped, jestingly. “By which I mean that it wouldn’t be around any more. Of course, it wouldn’t literally become a dinosaur. That would be impossible.”

With the ranks of researchers dropping by 30% annually, studies suggest that drastic measures are needed to stem the tide of running, screaming paleontologists.

Cope suggests a simple solution: don’t look at dinosaur skeletons.

“I’ve been in this field forty years, and I’ve never seen a dinosaur skeleton straight on. I make sure that any bones near me are safely disassembled. If must enter an area containing a complete dinosaur skeleton, I look at it only through a paleontological safety mirror.”

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