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In which Hank goes to a paleontological museum and it's GREAT!

Kallie, Blake, and Hank take you on a journey through the history of life:

I am aware that it is peculiar that I have now met two charismatic young women working at amazing museums featuring dead stuff at The University of Montana, but this is the world we live in, I guess!

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Good morning, John.
I'm headed to the University of Montana - you can see it down there - to see a cool thing. That's where I'm going.
Woaaaa. Weee. Okay.

H: (0:14) Hi. I made it. K: You did! H: This is Kallie! You may know her from K: Woo-whoop!
H: (0:19) This is Tuna. 'e makes SciSchow, most days.
H: (0:23) Oh - you got your name on the door! K: I do!

H: (0:26) So where are we? K: We are in the University of Montana, Paleontology centre, Collections. H: This is the collections room, it's back there.
H: (0:33) I mean, I'm looking at this table, and like, at least half of the things are not fossils. K: You keep the fossils in the cases! H: Okay.

H: (0:40) What's your biggest fossil? K: Probably that jaw upstairs. H: That jaw upstairs - K: Yeah. H: - can't fit anywhere else. K: Yeah [with laughter] it doesn't fit anywhere else but that case upstairs.

K: (0:48) (?~0:48) Look at it go! [laughter from both]

K: (0:50) Obviously I try to keep the heavier stuff on the lower level. These are all bits of mammal, uh, mammoth I mean. They are mammals.
These are, like, tips of toes. H: Oh, it's lighter - way lighter - than I expected! K: Yeah, so this is all, like, in the thousands of years old. H: Does that make it lighter? K: It does. It, there's less time for the mineralization process to occur.

K: (1:10) Uh, these are horse bits, a bunch of horse bits. H: The horses we have now were imported from Europe.. K: Yes. H: But we did have horses once. K: Yes, we did. We had the OG horses. H: Horses started here, and left - or died..? K: Mmhmm, and then died.

K: (1:23) So, the the weird cutoff date for a fossil is ten thousands years, right, it's completely arbitrary. It's just like, somebody was like, "Ten thousand!" A lot of the big charismatic megafauna was extinct by about ten thousand years ago. However, mammoths hung on until about four thousand ago in High Arctic islands. So that means when the Great Pyramids of Egypt were being built, there were still mammoths hanging out in the Arctic Circle.

K: (1:46) This is so cute. H: Yeah, it's a little antler. Was it a baby, or was it just really little and cute? K: It was a little dude, it might have been (?~1:55) sabered tooth, like - H: Like tiny saber-tooth chihuahua deer.
K: I can't even imagine - there were so much cute stuff - all this stuff was living, breathing head cells - H: You never think about, like, saber-toothed kittens. K: They had been, just like - H: Yeah, right! K: - stupid cute.

K: (2:10) There's little teeth. H: And they're teeth of..? K: Isolated teeth of rodents. H: Rodents. How is that different from just sand? K: Microscopes.

K: (2:18) My favourite specimen.. H: Your favourite specimen in the whole collection? K: Well, ahh.. Okay, top five! So on the outside you can tell that that's a fossil, but when you cut it open, it just, look at this pattern, it's just so neat. It's either a sponge or a hydrazoan. H: Oh, okay, so it's like a soft thing. K: Mmhmm, but it had an internal structure.

H: (2:38) Do you have any poop? K: Do we have poop - yes we have poop. No triassic poop. H: I can't believe you don't know where the turds are. K: I know! And I just got them out the other day. H: That's not turds. K: Turtle-turtle!

H: (2:50) Heyyy, I got my poop!
K: We have some really amazing soft body preservation.
H: What is that thing? K: That's - H: It looks terrible! K: It's like, more like a hell-warthog. H: Which sounds worse.
K: The top part was what was eroding out, it has lichen still on it.

K: (3:05) And then you asked about the oldest specimen. H: Is it bacterial mat? K: It is! H: Yeaaah, so cool! K: From Australia, of course, and it's like 2.75 billion - this is what life was. H: So weird to think about what Earth when it was just a - K: Just a baby! H: Yeah. [laughs]

H: (3:25) A few months ago, Kallie, my friend Blake, and I started a Youtube show called Eons, which is basically the story of all life on Earth. But walking around this museum with Kallie, I realized it's different for her, because she spends so much time with these objects. I got to see her see past the bones into the animals and organisms as they lived in their ecosystems in the deep past. And I think that really comes out when she's talking about this stuff.
(3:48) Thanks so much to Kallie for the tour, and if you want to check out Eons, I promise it is fascinating and weird and amazing.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.