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  • Jim West
    Here is something I hope you enjoy as much as I did. Jim [The story behind this... Apparently, there is a nutball who digs things out of his backyard and sends
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 27, 1997
      Here is something I hope you enjoy as much as I did.


      [The story behind this... Apparently, there is a nutball who digs things
      out of his backyard and sends his "discoveries" to the Smithsonian
      Institute, labeling them with scientific names and insisting they are
      actual archeological finds. The bizarre truth is that this guy really
      exists and does this in his spare time! Anyway, what follows is a letter
      from the Smithsonian Institute in response to his submission of a
      recently discovered specimen.]

      Paleoanthropology Division
      Smithsonian Institute
      207 Pennsylvania Avenue
      Washington, DC 20078

      Dear Sir:

      Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled "211-D,"
      layer seven, next to the clothesline, post Hominid skull." We have given
      this specimen careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you
      that we disagree with your theory that it represents "conclusive proof
      of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years
      ago." Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a
      Barbie doll, of the variety one of our staff, who has small children,
      believes to be the "Malibu Barbie." It is evident that you have given a
      great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be
      quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in
      the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings.

      However, we feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the
      specimen which might have tipped you off to its modern origin:

      1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are
      typically fossilized bone.

      2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic
      centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified

      3. The dentition pattern evident on the "skull" is more consistent with
      that of a common domesticated canine (dog) than it is of the "ravenous
      man-eating Pliocene clams" you speculate roamed the wetlands during that
      time. This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing
      hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but
      the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it.

      Without going into too much detail, let us say that:

      A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has
      chewed upon.

      B. Clams don't have teeth.

      It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your
      request to have the specimen carbon dated. This is partially due to the
      heavy load our lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to
      carbon dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic
      record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced
      prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating is likely to produce wildly
      inaccurate results.

      Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National
      Science Foundation's Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning
      your specimen the scientific name "Australopithecus spiff-arino."
      Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance
      of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the
      species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really sound like
      it might be Latin.

      However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating
      specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a hominid fossil,
      it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of
      work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly. You should know that
      our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the
      display of the specimens you have previously submitted to this
      Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you might
      happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your

      Additionally, we eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital,
      which you proposed within your last letter. Several of us on the staff
      are pressing the Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested
      in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the "trans-positating
      fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix" which make the
      excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex femur you recently discovered, take
      on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive
      crescent wrench.

      Yours in Science,

      Harvey Rowe
      Curator, Antiquities
      Jim West, ThD
      Adjunct Professor of Bible, Quartz Hill School of Theology
      Managing Editor, "The Journal of Biblical Studies" at

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