Classes have ended….

I just finished my first semester as an “adjunct lecturer” at Franklin College this past Wednesday. I don’t want any confusion over my credentials; I’m experienced in many aspects of vertebrate paleontology and am generally still just an overgrown kid, without an advanced degree! I’ve had a very nice time teaching a small lab class with four students, leading them with instruction on how to clean, repair and prepare fossil specimens for study or display. I’ve discovered that Franklin College is a really special place and is very different than the setting where I went to university. The total number of students is just about 1000; while I was on campus at IU all those years ago with around 33,000 others. It’s very cool to see such small class settings with 15-20, maybe 25 students at the maximum.

I am not teaching next semester so I can focus more on work at SIPI and do some planning for next summer’s field work. I think I’ll miss the college scene and if they want me back I’m sure I’ll be ready next fall to instruct there again and maybe increase the number of students who can participate?

Their final work – each student had a hadrosaur vertebra to use all their new found skills to carefully separate surrounding rock matrix from the fossil. All did well with minimal tools and time.
Here’s the college crew each standing behind the vertebra they worked on (with some weirdo standing behind them!).

I received a fun gift from one of the students on our last day of class. Over the semester many important topics were explored involving dinosaurs, like, you know, where were the students going out to eat that night, what teachers may have certain “interesting” personality quirks, how they like their fancy coffee drinks made, all that important stuff. One day the topic of dinosaur shaped/themed food came up; they wanted to know had I eaten some type of oatmeal made with “dinosaur egg” little sweets? (I had not), and certainly I’d had the pre-made chicken nugget things that are shaped like various dinosaurs? Much discussion followed about when they all had last had them and of course, everyone had had them, how they used to douse them with ketchup to show battle scars, surely I knew about them? (I did not). I was surprised to receive a parting gift Wednesday of a package of just these chicken nuggets shaped like dinos to take home and cook up for myself. I’m happy to say I did just that Wednesday night! I’m also here to report that, in fact, dinosaurs DO taste like chicken!

Proof they exist (and do taste just like chicken)