Monday, 8 June 2009

Who is Saurian?

Call me.....Saurian.

Well that's my name as far as you are concerned. Those of you who know me or recognise me will know me by another alias, and I'm sure that others have their own name for me, not necessarily complimentary! So then, who is Saurian?

Saurian was born in 1962 in Lower Clapton, London. I am married with an adult step-son and I am a Production Manager in the manufacturing industry. I drive an estate car with four-wheel drive which is of obvious use out in the field. I enjoy fishing, travel, both home and abroad, and have a passion for food. That's my normal side…..

Saurian came about because of my interest in the prehistoric world, and, more specifically, those wonderful and extraordinary creatures - the dinosaurs. Like so many of you, I grew up with the dinosaurs. When I was at school I spent every spare moment reading or writing about them or drawing them when I should have been concentrating on school work (sorry Mum!) but you know how it is!

Most people tend to lose the bug as they get older, at least temporarily. Those of us who don't share this never-ending thirst for knowledge. We are always scanning the latest news hoping to find that some new animal has been discovered that may solve so many unanswered questions. In reality all a new discovery usually does is to pose more, but that is what makes dinosaurs and the science of palaeontology so enthralling.

Eventually I reached a point where I needed to get involved - just reading wasn't enough. I started to attend lectures to broaden my horizons, and from there I was lucky enough to meet several palaeontologists and geologists. I started to correspond with them and learnt some more. Then I discovered field trips that it was possible to attend - my mind started to race!

That first field trip where dinosaur fossils were involved was simply one of the most incredible, and for me, emotional moments of my life. I wasn't too sure where to look but that didn't seem to matter (I remember this so well!), but without doubt that first time you find a dinosaur bone or tooth is a moment of absolute magic.

On subsequent trips you learn more. It becomes easier to differentiate bone from wood and you start to recognise the bone bearing strata, you become more and more familiar with certain sedimentary rock and the overall stratigraphy of the quarry. You learn more - but all the while you never lose that magical feeling, the feeling that you may be just one hammer blow away from something amazing…………

After a period of time, if you move in the right circles, you may meet some very well known palaeontologists - the ones who appear on certain television programmes and you may have copies of their books or published scientific papers. Those I have met have been fantastic - they are only too pleased to talk to you and share their knowledge of their chosen career, the prehistoric world.

Eventually you may broaden your horizons. Fossils of all sorts are fascinating and the more you vary your collecting the more you learn. You may have the opportunity to join a local club or society and enjoy sharing your experiences with others. I am now at the point where I am being asked to make presentations regarding fossil bone and preparation in the field. I don't have any formal qualifications in this field - just limited experience - but it is great to be able to help people from all walks of life to learn about the subject.

One final piece of advice. If you do go on a dinosaur dig and find yourself in the field, please show these wonderful extinct animals the respect they deserve. I always feel that I am with them spiritually. I know they are there - you can sense them - and as a result the surrounding territory feels …….almost consecrated. It's difficult to put into words, but you'll know what I mean.
Welcome to Saurian's Field Diaries!

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