Jump to content

Recommended Posts

gigantoraptor

Hello all,

 

Next year, the last year of high school for me, we have to write an essay of over 100 pages. It has to be about science and because it has to count so many pages, we have to choose something that we like, in my case fossils.

Now I don't know what specific topic I should choose? I have a couple of ideas, but they all have pros and cons. Could you guys help me out?

First idea:

- titel: Fauna and flora of the Maastrichtian of the Hell Creek Formation.

- pros: I think this should be possible to write 100 pages? There are many animals described from this formation. 

-cons: We can't just use photos from the internet without permission of the owner, and because I only have one Hell Creek tooth, It will be hard to get nice pictures. I also have trouble to find scientific papers and pictures of them.

 

Second Idea:

- Titel: The Kem Kem beds: a view in the Cenomanian of Morocco

-pros: I have already a couple of fossils from this area, and they aren't too high priced if I need some more.

-Cons: Would It be possible to write 100 pages? Many fossils can't be identified properly due lack of research.

 

Any other Ideas would be also great. I prefer vertebrates because fossils like trilobites are not even known by my teachers.

 

Thanks already.

  • I found this Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, gigantoraptor said:

Next year, the last year of high school for me, we have to write an essay of over 100 pages. It has to be about science and because it has to count so many pages, we have to choose something that we like, in my case fossils.

Now I don't know what specific topic I should choose? I have a couple of ideas, but they all have pros and cons. Could you guys help me out?

First idea:

- titel: Fauna and flora of the Maastrichtian of the Hell Creek Formation.

- pros: I think this should be possible to write 100 pages? There are many animals described from this formation. 

-cons: We can't just use photos from the internet without permission of the owner, and because I only have one Hell Creek tooth, It will be hard to get nice pictures. I also have trouble to find scientific papers and pictures of them.

 

Second Idea:

- Titel: The Kem Kem beds: a view in the Cenomanian of Morocco

-pros: I have already a couple of fossils from this area, and they aren't too high priced if I need some more.

-Cons: Would It be possible to write 100 pages? Many fossils can't be identified properly due lack of research.

Not sure what kind of photos you are looking for but I can help you with those from the Hell Creek or Morocco if you are interested in dinosaurs.   The Fruitbats dinosaur library is full of papers and I have additional ones if needed.  

  • I found this Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, gigantoraptor said:

Hello all,

 

Next year, the last year of high school for me, we have to write an essay of over 100 pages. It has to be about science and because it has to count so many pages, we have to choose something that we like, in my case fossils.

Now I don't know what specific topic I should choose? I have a couple of ideas, but they all have pros and cons. Could you guys help me out?

First idea:

- titel: Fauna and flora of the Maastrichtian of the Hell Creek Formation.

- pros: I think this should be possible to write 100 pages? There are many animals described from this formation. 

-cons: We can't just use photos from the internet without permission of the owner, and because I only have one Hell Creek tooth, It will be hard to get nice pictures. I also have trouble to find scientific papers and pictures of them.

 

Second Idea:

- Titel: The Kem Kem beds: a view in the Cenomanian of Morocco

-pros: I have already a couple of fossils from this area, and they aren't too high priced if I need some more.

-Cons: Would It be possible to write 100 pages? Many fossils can't be identified properly due lack of research.

 

Any other Ideas would be also great. I prefer vertebrates because fossils like trilobites are not even known by my teachers.

 

Thanks already.

 

 

I would do it on the Hell Creek formation.  There's a lot more literature on that - mainstream and technical.  You will be surprised how easy it would be to write 100 pages about a formation rich in fossils especially when you are interested in it.  I would think it would be more of a review of the fauna and flora than an essay because an essay is more about you presenting an argument for or against a subject - an opinion about something.  You should talk to a teacher about what you can do.

 

I would check this site for photos, and when you see a photo you could us,  just ask the member.  Who in this forum is going to say no to a high school student and fellow member?

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The teachers not knowing about the subject might be to your advantage. You can fluff your essay and they will never know.  When you get into college, they don't call it a BS degree for nothing! :P

  • I found this Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you wrote the essay about some thing your teacher is not familiar with, then student becomes the teacher. You will be opening their eyes to something new. You might wind up with a better grade.

  • I found this Informative 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
Wendell Ricketts

Hello.

 

Could you possibly post the assignment? Either as a .pdf or just a cell phone photo? As a teacher, I have a hard time believing you're being asked for 100 pages, though I could certainly be wrong.

 

I also want to know what KIND of article/essay/project you're supposed to write. Merely a descriptive one? Are you supposed to pick a specific problem and argue one side of it? Are you meant to contrast/compare two aspects of the subject that you pick? "Write about" something is too vague to provide you with specific help.

We'd also need to know what kind of resources you're being asked to consult. Professional papers? Peer-reviewed material only? Published materials only or are websites and blogs OK?

I would personally advise that you NOT focus on Hell Creek precisely because you will get lost in the myriad of materials written about it -- both in terms of professional literature and blog- and web-based writing. In addition, it's much too vague and broad a topic and you will wind up simply parroting/rephrasing what you've read, which is a waste of everyone's time (though I know some teachers want just that).

On the pictures issue:  Did the teacher specifically tell you you couldn't use photos w/o permission? In general, that's good practice, but for a high-school assignment that will not be published, it seems an odd requirement. In any case, the National Park Service has lots of photos online that are in the public domain. In addition, if you create a Flickr account, you can seek photos that are available via a Creative Commons license (actually, Google's image search allows you to do the same thing, but I'm more leery of Google's assurance than I am of Flickr's, because, in Flickr, the actual creators decide how to license their work). Finally, many of the images on Wikipedia are available via Creative Commons licensing, though it's polite to check if you're able to contact the artist. A number of very reliable paleoartists like Nobu Tamura illustrate for Wikipedia.

Best,

W

  • I found this Informative 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
DPS Ammonite

100 pages does seem rather long for a high school paper; college...maybe.

Link to post
Share on other sites
LordTrilobite

I think both Hell Creek and Kem Kem are great subjects to write about. True, an advantage of Hell Creek is that it has been extensively studied while Kem Kem is still very enigmatic (though for me personally that's part of the appeal). Though I do think it should be possible to write something about either of those.

 

 

Another idea for a subject could be the type Maastrichtian deposits of the Netherlands and Belgium. Nice and local. And the deposits in Khouribga Morocco are quite similar in fauna, so you could potentially use that to fill in some blanks if needed. But there's lots of cool vertebrate material in that fauna.

  • I found this Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Wrangellian
2 hours ago, DPS Ammonite said:

100 pages does seem rather long for a high school paper; college...maybe.

I was thinking the same thing! I was never required to do 100 pages in HS - I wondered if the Belgian curriculum is more demanding. I never even had to do 100 pages for college though I was not there for a Masters or PhD.

Link to post
Share on other sites
thelivingdead531

I hope for your sake it was just a typo and you only have to do 10 pages. If that’s the case, I’m sure you’ll be fine with either formation. If it really is 100 pages, you might just want to start in pre-Cambrian and go from there. :blink::wacko:

Link to post
Share on other sites
gigantoraptor
14 hours ago, Troodon said:

Not sure what kind of photos you are looking for but I can help you with those from the Hell Creek or Morocco if you are interested in dinosaurs.   The Fruitbats dinosaur library is full of papers and I have additional ones if needed.  

O, I didn't think about that one:o:wacko:. It should be possible for Hell Creek now I think.

 

13 hours ago, siteseer said:

 

 

I would do it on the Hell Creek formation.  There's a lot more literature on that - mainstream and technical.  You will be surprised how easy it would be to write 100 pages about a formation rich in fossils especially when you are interested in it.  I would think it would be more of a review of the fauna and flora than an essay because an essay is more about you presenting an argument for or against a subject - an opinion about something.  You should talk to a teacher about what you can do.

 

I would check this site for photos, and when you see a photo you could us,  just ask the member.  Who in this forum is going to say no to a high school student and fellow member?

 

 

Thank you. With your explaination it would indeed be a review. I just had trouble translating it.

 

11 hours ago, caldigger said:

The teachers not knowing about the subject might be to your advantage. You can fluff your essay and they will never know.  When you get into college, they don't call it a BS degree for nothing! :P

Now that's what I call a good idea! :P Unfortunatly they check roughtly what we wrote and it has to be correct.

 

11 hours ago, Darktooth said:

If you wrote the essay about some thing your teacher is not familiar with, then student becomes the teacher. You will be opening their eyes to something new. You might wind up with a better grade.

Didn't think of it that way, probably a very good Idea. I will consider it, thanks.

 

10 hours ago, Wendell Ricketts said:

Hello.

 

Could you possibly post the assignment? Either as a .pdf or just a cell phone photo? As a teacher, I have a hard time believing you're being asked for 100 pages, though I could certainly be wrong.

 

I also want to know what KIND of article/essay/project you're supposed to write. Merely a descriptive one? Are you supposed to pick a specific problem and argue one side of it? Are you meant to contrast/compare two aspects of the subject that you pick? "Write about" something is too vague to provide you with specific help.

We'd also need to know what kind of resources you're being asked to consult. Professional papers? Peer-reviewed material only? Published materials only or are websites and blogs OK?

I would personally advise that you NOT focus on Hell Creek precisely because you will get lost in the myriad of materials written about it -- both in terms of professional literature and blog- and web-based writing. In addition, it's much too vague and broad a topic and you will wind up simply parroting/rephrasing what you've read, which is a waste of everyone's time (though I know some teachers want just that).

On the pictures issue:  Did the teacher specifically tell you you couldn't use photos w/o permission? In general, that's good practice, but for a high-school assignment that will not be published, it seems an odd requirement. In any case, the National Park Service has lots of photos online that are in the public domain. In addition, if you create a Flickr account, you can seek photos that are available via a Creative Commons license (actually, Google's image search allows you to do the same thing, but I'm more leery of Google's assurance than I am of Flickr's, because, in Flickr, the actual creators decide how to license their work). Finally, many of the images on Wikipedia are available via Creative Commons licensing, though it's polite to check if you're able to contact the artist. A number of very reliable paleoartists like Nobu Tamura illustrate for Wikipedia.

Best,

W

We are a science based school. We have about 16 hours of science in a week + 6 hours of math. It's typical we have to write more. Last time another school had to write 2 pages and we had to write 10.

 

We got the task verbally, so I can't post it. Language barrier is a great problem here, as I have trouble to understand some things you say. I understood it's like a paper we have to write, but on a lower level, altought it is allowed to be the same level, but I think this will be very hard.

 

We can use every source except Wikipedia or similar pages. We also have to double-check all our sources. 

 

Would It be a better idea to focus on the Cretaceous of the USA, instead of just Hell Creek?

 

Yeah, we can't just use pictures. It's a practice

 

 

 

10 hours ago, DPS Ammonite said:

100 pages does seem rather long for a high school paper; college...maybe.

I'm 16 years, next year 17. That's high school, right?

 

10 hours ago, LordTrilobite said:

I think both Hell Creek and Kem Kem are great subjects to write about. True, an advantage of Hell Creek is that it has been extensively studied while Kem Kem is still very enigmatic (though for me personally that's part of the appeal). Though I do think it should be possible to write something about either of those.

 

 

Another idea for a subject could be the type Maastrichtian deposits of the Netherlands and Belgium. Nice and local. And the deposits in Khouribga Morocco are quite similar in fauna, so you could potentially use that to fill in some blanks if needed. But there's lots of cool vertebrate material in that fauna.

I would certainely have chosen Kem Kem, but I have to write 100 pages, and without good sources I don't think  this is possible for Kem Kem without repeating myself many times. I like the Idea of the Maastrichtian deposits of NL and BE. Sounds possible.

8 hours ago, Wrangellian said:

I was thinking the same thing! I was never required to do 100 pages in HS - I wondered if the Belgian curriculum is more demanding. I never even had to do 100 pages for college though I was not there for a Masters or PhD.

Can't comment on that one, sorry.

 

7 hours ago, thelivingdead531 said:

I hope for your sake it was just a typo and you only have to do 10 pages. If that’s the case, I’m sure you’ll be fine with either formation. If it really is 100 pages, you might just want to start in pre-Cambrian and go from there. :blink::wacko:

Not a typo, but It could be the lower it a bit to 80-90. It is a task for the next year, but they warned us to not wait till next year to find a topic. More information will be given soon in class, but by that time, we already have to propose some Ideas.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Wrangellian
1 hour ago, gigantoraptor said:

Can't comment on that one, sorry.

Not necessary! (Please don't)

Link to post
Share on other sites
MeargleSchmeargl

I have an idea! Look up some Belgian collecting sites, collect some yourself, and describe what the lives of said flora/fauna might have been like! Can you possibly even find a professional paleontologist to consult over the next year as you go? I think that taking your teacher on a tour of Belgium's prehistory could be the right way to go, especially showing your finds (maybe like a more in-depth version of a trip report?).

  • I found this Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On April 20, 2018 at 1:36 PM, Wendell Ricketts said:


I would personally advise that you NOT focus on Hell Creek precisely because you will get lost in the myriad of materials written about it -- both in terms of professional literature and blog- and web-based writing. In addition, it's much too vague and broad a topic and you will wind up simply parroting/rephrasing what you've read, which is a waste of everyone's time (though I know some teachers want just that).
 

 

Hi Mr. Ricketts,

 

I have always found your comments valuable but would have to disagree with you here.  Yes, I would skip the blogs and other web musings and I would stick to mainstream books/publications written by scientists (Archibald, Bryant, Prothero, etc.) and look over their peer-reviewed technical articles if I wanted some details.  I don't know why it's a vague/broad topic.  It's a particular rock formation representing a short episode of geologic time.  It can be a just-the-facts review of what the Hell Creek is (how it's defined top and bottom, what its named after, who named it, what environment and amount of time it represents, what fossil groups it contains, how the understanding of it changed in our lifetimes, and what its significance is in the understanding of the evolution of life in North America and the world).  

 

After that, it's a simple list of the plants and animals (and any known mushrooms) with some description of those organisms.  There would be more to say about T.rex and Triceratops than about Hell Creek salamanders but I wouldn't get bogged down with too much text on theories about whether T. rex was a scavenger or whether Nanotyrannus was a juvenile T. rex or if there was more than one species of Triceratops.  I would just mention that there has been speculation about dinosaurs in general and in some Hell Creek dinosaurs in particular.

 

The review could be followed by some discussion about how modern the Late Cretaceous world was in spite of its chronological distance from us (continents becoming recognizable, climates changing as the Western Interior Seaway withdrew) and how different dinosaurs are from the land mammals of the Cenozoic and today.  A larger-than-average elephant would still be a giant across most of the Cenozoic but that same elephant could be a unit of measurement for a few dinosaurs even just during the time of Hell Creek deposition. 

 

Of course, the project would close with more discussion of the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous and how the survivors from the Hell Creek time and region helped repopulate the earth.  The layers that overlie the Hell Creek tell that story. 

 

Gigantoraptor would have to take it all in and put it in his own words presumably in Dutch or French and his introductory and final paragraphs might carry musings of his own (his interest in the Hell Creek, having actual pieces from it) to personalize the project.  He might start with talking about T.rex because its so well-known around the world.  It might be the most famous prehistoric animal, and even after larger predatory dinosaurs have been reported, there's still something magical about it.  People won't let go of it as the ultimate dinosaur and predator.  We'll never see it alive and yet we know it was alive.  Only a few rock formations preserve its remains and the marks it left and one of them is the Hell Creek.

 

Jess

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/20/2018 at 2:52 PM, caldigger said:

The teachers not knowing about the subject might be to your advantage. You can fluff your essay and they will never know.  When you get into college, they don't call it a BS degree for nothing! :P

:ighappy:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Wendell Ricketts
14 minutes ago, Moozillion said:

:ighappy:

 

14 minutes ago, Moozillion said:

:ighappy:

Yes. That’s helpful. All you get in college now is BS. Guffaw. C’mon guys... A little respect for education would go a long way. (PS: I’ve read a LOT of essays whose subject matter I didn’t know. That didn’t mean I couldn’t spot bad writing or sloppy research.) 

  • I found this Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Wendell Ricketts said:

 

Yes. That’s helpful. All you get in college now is BS. Guffaw. C’mon guys... A little respect for education would go a long way. (PS: I’ve read a LOT of essays whose subject matter I didn’t know. That didn’t mean I couldn’t spot bad writing or sloppy research.) 

Sorry. It was not my intention to demean colleges and universities- caldiggers irreverant humor tickles me. My father was a college professor (American history), and he worked long and hard to educate students, some of whom could not care less about the values of a broad education.

Again, I apologize if I caused offense- it was never my intent.

  • I found this Informative 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Jesuslover340

Could you discuss how the two sites compare in diversity, region, time, etc.? How they've contributed to our knowledge and what they can still provide (especially Morocco)? Why one is more thoroughly researched than the other? Etc.? Just throwing out an idea. You should be able to gather a veritable wealth of sources by combining the two.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would inquire of your teacher what kind of audience this is intended for. There would be different expectations pending if the audience was a specialist one, or a "general sophisticated" academic one. If the latter (and I suspect it might be), be mindful of defining any technical terms carefully so it doesn't read like a litany of jargon. Not only does this help operationalize key terms, but it can be an opportunity to set up little "oases" for the reader to catch her/his breath. The purpose is to inform the reader while demonstrating your ability to perform due diligence in research, and certainly not to confuse!

Link to post
Share on other sites
CharlotteG

I personally am quite fond of @MeargleSchmeargl’s idea. Why write about American or Maroccan deposits when you can investigate Belgium, the Netherlands and Northern France. You can go hunt the coastline in France (Cape Blanc Nez) and write about the cretacious seas or go to Zandmotor in the Netherlands and write about mammoths, cave lions and early men. Or you could hunt Megalodon teeth in Antwerp... Visit the Natural history museum to see the Iguanodons... The best part is that you can ask local collectors for pictures and help, combined with some scientific articles those 100 pages can hardly be a problem :) 

Link to post
Share on other sites
gigantoraptor
On 22-4-2018 at 12:05 AM, MeargleSchmeargl said:

I have an idea! Look up some Belgian collecting sites, collect some yourself, and describe what the lives of said flora/fauna might have been like! Can you possibly even find a professional paleontologist to consult over the next year as you go? I think that taking your teacher on a tour of Belgium's prehistory could be the right way to go, especially showing your finds (maybe like a more in-depth version of a trip report?).

 

6 hours ago, CharlotteG said:

I personally am quite fond of @MeargleSchmeargl’s idea. Why write about American or Maroccan deposits when you can investigate Belgium, the Netherlands and Northern France. You can go hunt the coastline in France (Cape Blanc Nez) and write about the cretacious seas or go to Zandmotor in the Netherlands and write about mammoths, cave lions and early men. Or you could hunt Megalodon teeth in Antwerp... Visit the Natural history museum to see the Iguanodons... The best part is that you can ask local collectors for pictures and help, combined with some scientific articles those 100 pages can hardly be a problem :) 

Sorry for the late reaction, forgot a bit about this topic. 

I do live in Belgium, but the only locations within an hour are Knokke (only very worn shark teeth) and the famous quarry of Egem (closed). I don't have a car so fossilhunting isn't something I can do. In 10 years of collecting, I have done maybe 5 hunts. Thanks for the idea, but this one looks even harder than the others. I could do local, but not with own experiences.

 

And yeah, I agree, the Natural history museum is great, and writing 100 pages about 1 species is possible, but I think this will be too boring for my teachers.

 

Greetings

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...