I have recently become aware of an email newsgroup of paleontologists from museums and universities around the globe. I am obsessed. These are a few of the things I have learned:
• Did you know there is a faction of avian paleontologists who do not believe dinosaurs evolved into birds? They are referred to as "BANDits" (Birds Are Not Dinosaurs). They are also referred to as "BAND Camp". One of the people on the newsgroup suggested that those who believe that dinosaurs did evolve into birds should call themselves "BADdies" (Birds Are Dinosaurs). I am in love with this faction-bating snarkiness.
• Despite its many scientific and plot flaws, some paleontologists on the newsgroup are as obsessed with Jurassic Park as I am. There was a flurry of emails debating whether a Jurassic Park 4 is in the works. (This movie will be terrible.) But I don't care that velociraptors were not 6' tall, or that even at 16 I knew that filling in the gaps using amphibian DNA was a terrible idea. I read all the books and saw the first Jurassic Park in the theater eleven times. Because, DUDE. DINOSAURS. I'm happy I'm in good company.
• In reply to an email announcing yet another ceratopsian in 2010, one person replied, "Cleaned out my cupboards, found a ceratopsian." In the same thread, referring to this quote: "Geologically—and paleogeographically—Siberia and Alaska are the same place," another user replied: "So in a way, Sarah Palin was right. :-)" Paleontologists are funny!
• Some of my favorite thread titles from just October 2010: "Department of Defense and Flying Snakes", "Sweating in Dinosaurs?", "Tyrannosaurus Tail Torque" and "Godzilla v. Cthulu". The whole archive is filled with these goodies, and the archives reach back to 1994.
I will certainly be keeping you posted about any news that I learn from the Dinosaur Mailing List. If you would like to explore the archives yourself, you may do so here.