Why do I have a really bad feeling about this?
The State Department gave final approval Wednesday for one of the world's most famous fossils - the 3.2 million-year-old Lucy skeleton unearthed in Ethiopia in 1974 - to tour the U.S. on exhibit for the first time.Oh yeah - I remember now...
The Smithsonian has objected to the idea, however, because museum experts don't think the fragile remains should travel. So Lucy won't be stopping at the National Museum of Natural History, but in other U.S. museums instead.
Smithsonian scientists feel that certain artifacts, such as Lucy, are too valuable for the stresses of travel and should remain in their homes, according to National Natural History Museum spokesman Randall Kremer.
``This is one of the most important specimens relating to human origins in the world,'' Kremer said Wednesday. ``We think it is too much of a risk to have it travel for the purposes of public viewing.''
Even in Ethiopia the public has only seen the real Lucy remains twice. The Lucy exhibition at the Ethiopian Natural History Museum in the nation's capital, Addis Ababa, is a replica and the real remains are usually locked in a vault.
``We share with them the fact that artifacts like this need to be surrounded with the utmost care, but that should not preclude them from traveling,'' said Dirk Van Tuerenhout, curator of anthropology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which is arranging the tour. He added that representatives from his museum did deem some of the other artifacts offered by the Ethiopian government unable to travel.
...Lucy goes on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Aug. 31, continuing through April 20, 2008. The other tour stops have not been finalized, according to museum spokeswoman Melodie Francis. But in announcing the plans to display the artifact last October, Ethiopian officials listed Washington, New York, Denver and Chicago as tour stops.
I've a bad feeling because the Lucy fossil has been the center of wingnut Christian propoganda and pressure in Etheopia for some time now. They've been trying to get the museum to stop displaying Lucy, the fossil once described as the "missing link" between apes and humans and others, instead wanting them hidden in a back room.
So now a fossil that the experts at the Smithsonian think is too fragile to travel in the best of circumstances is going to be on display in America, the home of creationist ideologue extremists. These cretins are close cousins to, or one and the same people as, those who think blowing up non-fossilized abortion doctors is being 'pro-life'.
Oh, that just gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling, that does! I hope they put an armed (and atheist) guard or six on Lucy's old bones.