September 3, 2009
If you loved the dinosaur-filled 1980′s pop song “Mesozoic Mind,” then you will be glad to hear that the alternative rock band They Might Be Giants has just released a possibly even more infectious tune about fossils on their new album Here Comes Science. The CD/DVD album is meant to help introduce kids to scientific concepts, from the states of matter to evolution, and my natural favorite is their tune “I Am a Paleontologist.” The band even released the video for the song as a special preview, which you can see above.
I have a few minor quibbles with the song and video. Paleontology is about much more than dinosaur bones; paleontologists study all forms of life from fossil bacteria to prehistoric whales, and the field has increasingly been incorporating studies of development, genetics and microbiology to get a more detailed look at ancient life. Looking for fossils in the field is still a core part of paleontology, but that is far from being all that paleontologists do. Also, the real name of the “Carnotaur” they refer to is Carnotaurus, a predatory dinosaur from the Cretaceous of South America, and fossil elephants (like the one dancing along in the background) do not have bones in their trunk. Still, the song is a lot of fun and I just can’t get the song out of my head. Perhaps it will help inspire some young paleo-fan to pursue a career in trying to understand the history of life on earth.
Sign up for our free email newsletter and receive the best stories from Smithsonian.com each week.