Peter, Pollen, and Mary

Once upon a time when I was in grad school, I used to study microfossils.  When people think of paleontology, they automatically conjure up images of dinosaurs.  The vast majority of fossils, of course, have nothing to do with dinosaurs.  Microfossils, being teeny tiny, have a much greater chance of being preserved (less scavenging or dispersal of body parts by other means, for instance) and in greater numbers.  And these little doo-dads can tell you butt-loads about what was going on at the time of their deposition.

Case in point, did you know that pollen actually fossilizes very well?  It’s true.  They are composed of an organic-walled substance called sporopollenin, which is actually quite tough.  By looking at pollen deposited in sediment or rock, you can get a great insight into what was going on with climate at the time and even human settlement (loss of tree pollen in favor of grasses/echinacea/agricultural species, for example).

Beautiful stuff, really.

Beautiful stuff, really.

Pollen is magic-  in the past.

In the present?  It’s the fucking devil. I woke up this morning with eyes like a demon and a cough like a mine worker.  I sound like a man when I speak.  I am hacking and wheezing and sound absolutely disgusting. My son?  Same deal.  His nose is like a spigot for clear snot.

I used to look at people with compromised immune systems that required “bubbles” with pity.  Now I think they have the right idea.

See the malice in its eyes!

See the malice in its eyes!


About larva225

Working mom. Is there any other kind? Geologist. Nerd.
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