Piles of coal sit in front of a power plant in Utah. Such coal-fired power plants emit greenhouse gases that drive climate change.

What Myths About the Anthropocene Get Wrong

These ten misconceptions underplay how much we have altered the global environment and undermine the new perspective we need to deal with a drastically changed world


How the Geologic History of the Earth Provides Clues for Our Future

For Earth Day, Smithsonian paleobiologist Scott Wing reminds us that we can look to the fossil record to better understand human-caused global changes

“I hope people of the future will look back on us and see that we learned the lessons of deep time,” says Smithsonian paleontologist Scott Wing.

Studying the Climate of the Past Is Essential for Preparing for Today's Rapidly Changing Climate

A Smithsonian scientist explains why in the new Age of Humans, we must turn from crisis management to planet management

The badlands north of Worland, Wyoming, shown here, expose sediments deposited during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Wyoming Paleontology Dispatch #9: Why It’s Called “Breaking Camp”

Some trick of the human psyche makes a patch of sagebrush feel like home

With the Beartooth Mountains looming to the west in the morning light, team members set up the coring rig on Polecat Bench.

Wyoming Paleontology Dispatch #8: Polecat Bench Badlands

Can the team drill past an ancient river channel?

The products of our first day of coring. Drying in the hot Wyoming sun are segments of cores in their Lexan liners.

Wyoming Paleontology Dispatch #7: The Excitement—and Dread—of Coring

Looking ridiculous, we rush around like inexperienced wait-staff in a busy restaurant

The truck-mounted coring rig set up at the Basin Substation site.

Wyoming Paleontology Dispatch #6: Bringing Up a Core

One thing everyone has told us is that you never know what you will find underground

Allie and Elizabeth make their way across a steep badland slope as we prospect for new sites to collect Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum plant fossils. The red layers on the hill behind them represent the lowest part of the PETM.

Wyoming Paleontology Dispatch #5: An All-Star Team of Scientists

A geologist, a geochemist and a paleontologist go into an (ancient sand) bar

After three days of working, Scott Wing and his crew went to the Churchill family picnic in Powell, Wyoming.

Wyoming Paleontology Dispatch #4: Paleontologists’ Summer Family

Mired in the mud? Need an emergency place to stay? The Churchill family has helped out for more than 80 years

Part of a fossil palm frond from the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum in Wyoming.

Wyoming Paleontology Dispatch #3: How to date a fossil

The Bighorn Basin’s colorful stripes reveal an ancient riverbed


Wyoming Paleontology Dispatch #1: Why 56 Million Years Ago?

What did the earth look like during the Paleocene Epoch? A Smithsonian researcher investigates

After an hour or two of searching, Scott Wing and his team found a spot to set up camp.

Wyoming Dispatch #2: The Scene at Field Camp

Before digging, the paleobiologists must go through the arduous process of setting up camp

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