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The First Paleontology Lecture In Singapore!


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As many of you are aware, Singapore is a country that does not yield fossil sites, nor do we have a strong geological heritage or much government/state support.

However, that should not prevent our youth from learning about the rich culture and wonders of fossils, Earth's ancient history or paleontology! Our group of fossil-collectors recently partnered with a well-known school, National Junior College and held a lecture for a group of 80 high school students' science day.

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We started off with short video showing scenes from Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure. Seeing a mosasaur chomp up a shark sure got the students' attention!

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The lecture organizer Calvin leads the talk.

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Seeing the looks of amazement on the children's faces make this all worthwhile!

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A boy excitedly cradles the mammoth bone in his laps

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Our next speaker Han talks about the possible links between ancient humanity's discovery of fossils with the stories of dragons, Nessie and other beasts

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Han goes on to talk about how fossils are used in a wide variety of ways

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I am up next. My topic was on carbon dating and Earth's age.

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I move on to show a geological timeline of Earth which I made.

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Steve, the last speaker explains how certain people have chosen to use fossils as a form of investment.

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Steve then goes into details on how fossils have often been faked.

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It's my turn again. I now touch on the topic of Paleoart, 3d creations of dinosaurs and other forms of media.

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Calvin ends it with a Q&A.

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We then held a hands-on session where we have groups of students come to the stage to view our own collections.

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"That is a toebone?!" the girls could hardly believe their eyes.

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Calvin showing a piece of bacteria fossil upclose.

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"I am holding a cave bear's paw fossil!"

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Han handing out gifts to students who correctly answered questions about paleontology.

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Our group posing together.

All in all, I would say this lecture was an immense success. The students' interest in dinosaurs and fossils were piqued, and the lesson helped expose them to a world they had never imagined.

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Most excellent: kudos to you! :goodjob:

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Great work guys! My respect and hats off to u all despite not being professional paleontologists.

Looks like a great collection you guys have there too!

Good to see collectors contributing to the scientific and educational communities.

In our country even with some geological & paleontological heritage and lack of public interests and state supports - similar problems to yours I suppose, still we haven't been able to pull this kind of activity and exhibit off - a shame really.

Hope the lecture will inspire future paleontologists and fossils hunters & collectors among these kids.

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Thanks for putting this up Andy! It was a great lecture/exhibition! We don't usually get much exposure to this field of science growing up in a conservative Asian country, but I am glad to see that many of the kids were awe-inspired by the world of dinosaurs and prehistoric life. I am also thankful for the chance to put some of my fossils to good use rather than letting them gather dust on my shelves.

Hopefully the response to future lectures like this will be greater when the new Natural History Museum in Singapore opens!

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You can see the joy in the faces of the students knowing how fortunate they were. Any plans to take the presentation to other schools?

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Great initiative :D

Many happy students.

Am I wrong to notice that there are many more enthusiastic girls then boys?

Or is it the photographer? :)

Peter

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Well done! I'm sure you were able to generate some real enthusiasm for the subject amongst the students. Maybe this has even been a career inspiration for the one or the other. Wouldn't that be nice? Or maybe some would be interested in joining your group. It certainly would be good, as BobWill is suggesting, to give the presentation elsewhere now that you've got it set up. Your collections also look good!

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I am surprised about the sheer number of girls compared to guys too!

It was a sign-up thing, so we were expecting far more guys. But I would estimate 80% of our audience were female.

We do have plans to bring this to other schools, as this one was a success.

Great work guys! My respect and hats off to you all despite not being professional paleontologists.
Looks like a great collection you guys have there too!
Good to see collectors contributing to the scientific and educational communities.

In our country even with some geological & paleontological heritage and lack of public interests and state supports - similar problems to yours I suppose, still we haven't been able to pull this kind of activity and exhibit off - a shame really.

Hope the lecture will inspire future paleontologists and fossils hunters & collectors among these kids.

We certainly hope so too. Are you able to gather a group of like-minded individuals and approach any school? That was what Calvin did.

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We have never had an organized lecture like this whether organized by private or governmental entities. It's kinda sad really, since most collectors here in Thailand tend to be very secluded and private individuals who often aren't very knowledgeable about paleontology or about the things they collect or show much interest to share their collections to the public as far I know.

The only thing close to this was a fossils competition/exhibition event organized by the department of geology almost half a decade ago (and nothing else ever since) but that event had the hidden agenda of bringing some rare and valuable fossils that may have been traded in the black market to light so that they could be tracked and registered for future references.

To my knowledge that event wasn't particularly successful nor helped encouraging the registration of fossils in private collection, since the really shady collectors with a large collection of illicit specimens like rare dinosaur & pre-historic elephant materials are often big politicians or high-ranking civil servants and business tycoons who are probably not very "showy" or publicly active in the collecting circle.

Here in Thailand, the fossils community is a very niche and somewhat lonely community without much activism or networking - sad to say really. I try to remedy this somewhat by creating a blog in local language about fossils collecting and paleontological knowledge in general that my limited knowledge may permit me to share and I think I may be the only blogger in the country doing this on a regular basis from as far as I can tell...

Edited by AJ Plai
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trilobiteruss

Great job Andy my compliments. I saw some of these photos on the Singapore Group on FB as well, good to see even more of them and more of the story here. Keep up the good work.

russ

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We have never had an organized lecture like this whether organized by private or governmental entities. It's kinda sad really, since most collectors here in Thailand tend to be very secluded and private individuals who often aren't very knowledgeable about paleontology or about the things they collect or show much interest to share their collections to the public as far I know.

The only thing close to this was a fossils competition/exhibition event organized by the department of geology almost half a decade ago (and nothing else ever since) but that event had the hidden agenda of bringing some rare and valuable fossils that may have been traded in the black market to light so that they could be tracked and registered for future references.

To my knowledge that event wasn't particularly successful nor helped encouraging the registration of fossils in private collection, since the really shady collectors with a large collection of illicit specimens like rare dinosaur & pre-historic elephant materials are often big politicians or high-ranking civil servants and business tycoons who are probably not very "showy" or publicly active in the collecting circle.

Here in Thailand, the fossils community is a very niche and somewhat lonely community without much activism or networking - sad to say really. I try to remedy this somewhat by creating a blog in local language about fossils collecting and paleontological knowledge in general that my limited knowledge may permit me to share and I think I may be the only blogger in the country doing this on a regular basis from as far as I can tell...

Do not fret my friend, fossil-collecting was a lonely hobby for me initially too.

It wasn't until I met Calvin several years ago that we decided to look for more like-minded fossil collectors in Singapore and to form a group.

He put up an article in our newspaper and we took to various forums to search for other members.

In the space of 4 years, our community grew from 2 to over 80 members, of which 10 of us meet up several times a year.

I am sure there is a community in your country, perhaps you could start a facebook group.

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trilobiteruss

Andy has good ideas AJ. In fact I find Facebook very useful in all the fossil groups you can find on there. You may be able to find others from your country via those means. He and his group have one of the Facebook Groups that I follow (even though I am in US) and I find groups related to my interest of Trilobites on there, good place to share for me.

Russ

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trilobiteruss

With facebook and this forum I have lots of good contacts related to my interests and keep in touch daily. You could even create a facebook group for your country and see who has interest.

russ

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thx for the advice and ideas guys. :) I have started the creation of a Facebook Page for local Thai collectors and link the content to my blog and will see how it grows, might take a while to build audience & community members but certainly its a start. Wish me luck!

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Well done guys BTW you are a lucky guys, the last time I did a presentation on fossils was for the retired doctors of my town.... Keep up the good job !!!

Edited by MB
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