Pharyngula

Seattle! Get off your butts!

Lucy’s skeleton is on tour, and is currently on display at the Pacific Science Center — a lovely and interesting place even when the most famous australopithecine in the world isn’t holding court. Here’s the surprising news: Pacific northwesterners are not flocking to the museum. The science center is losing big buckets of money on the exhibit, and other museums around the country are hesitating about booking it — it may close after its Seattle run, and I won’t get to see it!

I can’t believe this. You have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a wonderful relic of our ancient history, and you’re staying home?

You still have time. It closes on 8 March. Go!

Comments

  1. #1 Kobra
    January 26, 2009

    They must have poor marketing or something. We’re talking about the liberal pacific northwest, right? Something isn’t adding up.

  2. #2 BlindRobin
    January 26, 2009

    Lucy had big crowds at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, I got to see her multiple times and a lot of pretty nifty Ethiopian objects that fill out the exhibit.
    Go see her Seattle, don’t be out cooled by Texans. That would just never do now would it ?

  3. #3 Donna
    January 26, 2009

    I saw Lucy in Houston (and am a grad of UW-Go DAWGS!) and I am surprised by this. I thought that she would have had a much better reception at the Science Museum there. It really is an incredible display.

  4. #4 rnb
    January 26, 2009

    They probably need to put Lucy inside a pyramid. Then the la-la types up there would come…….

  5. #5 Vidar
    January 26, 2009

    I’m on the wrong continent, sorry. If something that interesting was being displayed anywhere in my country, I would be there.

  6. #6 Vic
    January 26, 2009

    I am waiting so anxiously to see Lucy, but it is surprisingly hard to find out any information on the tour schedule. The King Tut exhibit a few years ago was easy to get information about, so I don’t know what the problem is. I would assume the closest she’ll get to MN is the Field Museum in Chicago, but I would hate to drive all the way down there if I don’t have to.

  7. #7 Billy
    January 26, 2009

    I would go if geography allowed, but at the same time I am a little against Lucy touring. Bones (well, fossils made from bones) are notoriously fragile. Even if the utmost care is taken as they move the fossils around, slight wear is inevitable. A relic as valuable as Lucy should be preserved as much as possible. Why not tour with a replica? Think of Lascaux – a replica still delights and educates the public, while the real deal is preserved as much as possible.

  8. #8 Bodach
    January 26, 2009

    We were going to go during Christmas break but then we had the snowstorm (yeah, yeah, we’re wusses when it comes to snow on the streets) and then one thing led to another. We’re going in a couple of weeks, though.

  9. #9 U747
    January 26, 2009

    Nooo!!
    I’m not scheduled to move back to Seattle until July! I’m just missing it – otherwise, I swear I’d be there.

  10. #10 Spyderkl
    January 26, 2009

    Vic/#6:
    Unfortunately, it looks like the Field Museum canceled their showing of Lucy. And if the Field can’t afford it, I know that Denver won’t get the exhibit either. *sob*

  11. #11 Andyo
    January 26, 2009

    On a related note, I went not long ago (a few months) to the L.A. Museum of Natural History. It mostly sucked. I know they’re fixing the dinosaur exhibits, but I don’t know, it’s freaking L.A. This is one of the big cities, isn’t it? There’s not many cultural or scientific points of interest here. I mean, there’s the Getty, and Caltech. Then there’s stupid wax museums and idiotic floor stars. Dammit. Don’t blame the museum I guess, if they’re lacking funds.

    Reminds me of the old Woody Allen joke referring to L.A. “I don’t wanna live in a city where the only cultural advantage is that you can make a right turn on a red light.”

  12. #12 Robert W
    January 26, 2009

    Hard to believe. It’s almost enough to make me buy a ticket from St. Louis and make the trip. Would be quite something to see Lucy in person.

  13. #13 Andyo
    January 26, 2009

    Oh forgot to mention. A very good exhibit is the kinda new dome show at the Griffith Observatory. But the observatory itself is just adequate, not “WOW”.

  14. #14 Dutchdoc
    January 26, 2009

    If the exhibit drew 200,000 visitors in Houston, then maybe there IS intelligent life in Texas after all!

    (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/01/cute_but_grossly_inaccurate.php“)

  15. #15 cervantes
    January 26, 2009

    Just out of curiosity, what’s the creationist explanation for fossils of early hominids? Do they really claim that there were a bunch of creatures that were sorta, kinda like Homo sapiens but not really, that all got wiped out in the flood, or what?

  16. #16 José
    January 26, 2009

    If they just displayed Desi’s skeleton alongside Lucy’s they’d get a bigger crowd.

  17. #17 Coragyps
    January 26, 2009

    Lucy’s appearance in Houston was very nice, indeed. Like Blind Robin said, the rest of the show was very interesting, too: it was largely religious artifacts from Ethiopia, but lots of them were really beautiful. And I never knew that medieval Ethiopia had obelisks bigger than the famous Egyptian ones….

  18. #18 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    I think Seattle would turn out to see Kennewick man, he is of more local interest as one of the paleo-Americans that first settled the Americas before the Native Americans arrived. Lucy and Kennewick man would make a great combo tour. The Kennewick display could be accompanied by culture exhibits of the transition from paleo-American artifacts to Native American artifacts, as the paleo-Americans were exterminated and displaced.

  19. #19 Starbuck
    January 26, 2009

    The science center is losing big buckets of money on the exhibit, and other museums around the country are hesitating about booking it ? it may close after its Seattle run, and I won’t get to see it!-PZ

    I find it REAL hard to get excited about ancient monkey bones. But then I am not from the north west either.

  20. #20 Luke
    January 26, 2009

    I saw it a while back and wrote a short blog entry. Was expensive, but well worth it.

  21. #21 Brownian
    January 26, 2009

    It’s a bit of a drive, but I’m supposed to head to Vancouver & Vancouver Island to see friends one of these days anyway, so if I head that way before March 8 I’ll try to dip south.

  22. #22 ERV
    January 26, 2009

    Another person who saw her in Houston– It was swamped when I went!

    wtf, Seattle?

  23. #23 Sigmund
    January 26, 2009

    Perhaps they should copy the Cincinnati zoo-Creationism museum special offer and sell dual tickets for the Lucy exhibit – and the Discovery Institute!
    Warning – do not feed the Casey!

  24. #24 co
    January 26, 2009

    From one of Starbuck’s earlier postings:

    I am amazed at the stupidity level of athiests who describe themselves as “progressive” “intellectual” “brights”.

    And now:

    I find it REAL hard to get excited about ancient monkey bones.

    The hypocrisy makes baby Jeebus cry.

  25. #25 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2009

    Just out of curiosity, what’s the creationist explanation for fossils of early hominids? Do they really claim that there were a bunch of creatures that were sorta, kinda like Homo sapiens but not really, that all got wiped out in the flood, or what?

    God (YahweH), drawing inspiration from one of his cohorts Loki, placed those bones to trick the humans into a test of their faith.

  26. #26 Run-DMS
    January 26, 2009

    Spending good money to see bones strikes me as a waste.

  27. #27 Dr Benway
    January 26, 2009

    It’s weird Seattle’s not visiting the display… Perhaps the relative lack of controversy over evolution there, as compared to Texas? Controversy provokes attention.

  28. #28 alexandre van de sande
    January 26, 2009

    Sorry I’m on the “Lucy is too old to be touring” bandwagon, I can’t promote this.

    The public doesn’t neeeds to see the real thing, they don’t care. During all this time she could being seen by real scientist doing, lets say real work…

  29. #29 Valis
    January 26, 2009

    Crap, did you see the idiotic comments at the bottom of that story? People never cease to amaze me with their ignorance.

    On a more positive note, we have a marvelous “Cradle of Humankind” World Heritage Site called Maropeng. This is situated at the Sterkfontein Caves, where the fossil of Mrs Ples (Plesianthropus transvaalenis) was discovered.

    In fact, together these cave sites have produced over 850 hominid fossil remains, so that to date they represent one of the world’s richest concentrations of fossil hominid bearing sites.

    It’s an absolutely awe-inspiring experience vsiting these caves! I would highly recommend it to anyone that may visit South Africa perchance.

  30. #30 Charles Minus
    January 26, 2009

    Hey #11:

    Did you ever hear of the La Brea Tar Pits? Surely one of the most interesting museums you could ask for. An active research site where you can watch technicians involved in extracting and cleaning old bones and assembling them into skeletons.

    I agree the LA Nat. Sci. museum is a disappointment. Especially for someone who grew up in Chicago where you can visit the Field museum, the Adler Planetarium and the Art Institute practically within walking distance of one another, and then jump on the el/subway and go the the Museum of Science and Industry. L.A. has nothing to compare to those great sites.

  31. #31 Glen Davidson
    January 26, 2009

    I’d probably go, if it didn’t mean driving a couple hundred miles in questionable weather conditions. I’m not sure it’s all that educational, though, since we could never study the bones (a replica sounds boring–but really, what difference would it make in anyone learning anything?) close up, and wouldn’t learn a lot from old bones in a glass case.

    Whether or not it should tour doesn’t disturb me much regarding the question of people going. It’s support for science, perhaps an inspiration to some, and in-your-face to the anti-sciece bigots.

    Should it tour? I can’t say, since I don’t know how well it can be protected from harm. Getting people interested in science, and especially evolution in this third-world country (kidding, but from the acceptance here of evolution…) is surely worth some risk. Of course, if it doesn’t interest people much it’s a wasted risk.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  32. #32 Blue Fielder
    January 26, 2009

    @ #19: You’re also an ignorant turd. Your opinion is not necessary.

    Lot of proudly ignorant people crowing in this thread about how they’re too smart to go see “monkey bones”. Hey, it’s only one of the most important pieces of natural history in… well, natural history; I’m sure you’re very busy with your packed schedule of being better than all of us. You can be forgiven.

    Idiots.

  33. #33 Starbuck
    January 26, 2009

    From one of Starbuck’s earlier postings:

    I am amazed at the stupidity level of athiests who describe themselves as “progressive” “intellectual” “brights”.

    And now:

    I find it REAL hard to get excited about ancient monkey bones.

    The hypocrisy makes baby Jeebus cry.

    And getting excited about some old monkey bones is a perfect example..

    What can I say… You want to spend that much money on old monkey bones and praise them as the cradle of humanity, go ahead. Doesn’t make you right. And “Lucy” was not a human, she/he/it was a monkey of some kind. And you claiming she was doesn’t make it so either. Quit working youself into a lather over such stupid things.

    Ach! The pure stupidity of evolutionists and athiests is shocking..

    Now, it is your turn to slam on me… But before you do, have a great day… Your good ones are severely numbered.

  34. #34 KJ
    January 26, 2009

    I went to see Lucy in Seattle this last weekend (came down from Canada). Well worth the drive; they did a very good job explaining the findings as well.

  35. #35 Badjuggler
    January 26, 2009

    What is the current scientific opinion on Donald Johanson? I read his Lucy book when it came out during my high school years and loved it. But alas I was too stupid to make science a career. Is he respected? And what about the Leakeys?

  36. #36 Vic
    January 26, 2009

    #15

    Just out of curiosity, what’s the creationist explanation for fossils of early hominids? Do they really claim that there were a bunch of creatures that were sorta, kinda like Homo sapiens but not really, that all got wiped out in the flood, or what?

    According to a Chick Tract I just read (I would assume he’s up to date on the Creationist BS), they think all early hominids are just mislabeled apes.

  37. #37 astrobiologiste
    January 26, 2009

    People! MOVE!

    That skeleton is the reason i started listening to the Beatles!!! (She was named lucy because of the song, or so they said.)

    I want to go and i can’t!!!!

    Come on! Lucy is a celebrity! We like celebrities!

    I know, that last bit was geeky and lame, but so be it. Go see Lucy, what we have learned from her is nothing but lame, although it might be geeky.

  38. #38 Dave Godfrey
    January 26, 2009

    Trust me, conservation will have been the most important consideration. If the curators and conservators who look after Lucy on a day-to-day basis didn’t think the fossil would be safe the project would never have gone ahead. They’ll have gone through extensive consultation, and spent a great deal of time and money planning every step of the exhibition.

    It really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, on a par with seeing the London Archaeopteryx, which isn’t on public display, and I doubt will go on tour in my lifetime. I’m saddened that the audiences aren’t flocking to see it.

  39. #39 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 26, 2009

    The Kennewick display could be accompanied by culture exhibits of the transition from paleo-American artifacts to Native American artifacts, as the paleo-Americans were exterminated and displaced.

    Evidence?

    The normal thing that happens when people meet is the same as what happens when bonobos meet: they fuck. For example, the mitochondrial haplogroup X still exists among Native Americans, and we Europeans can trace around 80 % of our ancestry straight down into the last ice age right here in Europe, even though almost all of us speak Indo-European languages which came from elsewhere.

  40. #40 Me
    January 26, 2009

    It’s only a 2 hr drive for me, I will get off my butt ( actually I will be on my butt for 2 hrs) and go.

    Thanks for the motivational kick in the pants PZ.

  41. #41 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 26, 2009

    And “Lucy” was not a human, she/he/it was a monkey of some kind.

    Show us.

    What is the current scientific opinion on Donald Johanson? [?] Is he respected? And what about the Leakeys?

    Why do you care about people? Every single hypothesis has to be evaluated separately, and on its own merits.

    She was named lucy because of the song, or so they said.

    It’s true.

  42. #42 Vic
    January 26, 2009

    #33

    But before you do, have a great day… Your good ones are severely numbered.

    Just a question, Starbuck. Why do Christians frequently end their posts with threats such as this? Out days are numbered? Are you threatening our lives? Or implying that we’re going to get struck down by your all mighty? This is the biggest mystery of Christians to me is the threats.

  43. #43 Africangenesis
    January 26, 2009

    David@39,

    Aparently when peoples meet they may be afraid to share their genes, and some go “extinct” besides being highly capable modern humans. At least that is a competing hypothesis to the population bottleneck hypothesis to explain the small effect population size of modern humans (approx 10000).

    http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/108/2?etoc

  44. #44 Kevin
    January 26, 2009

    I would eagerly go and take many people with me! Too bad I’m on the other side of the continent now at college… Someone take my place!

  45. #45 namehere
    January 26, 2009

    I think the lack of crowds is partially due to bad timing and lack of promotion. The economic downturn. The week this city was ground to halt over a couple of inches of snow. the $20 tickets and expensive parking and lousy traffic make it a bit of a schlep for most people to get there.
    Frankly I haven’t seen a review of this exhibit anywhere. I live 7 minutes by foot away from the science center and I have barely noticed the exhibit. I haven’t been scouring the papers but there doesn’t seem to be much excitement locally.
    Also Lucy seems to be a bit of old news. You can search the web or pick up science based magazine or even find a few books on the subject. I suspect many people just don’t think that going to see the exhibit is going to enhance their knowledge or appreciation of the fossils.
    Perhaps someone that has seen the exhibit can write in and explain what they liked so much about it. What made it so interesting.
    I am not much more inclined to go see an ancestral hominids bones than I am to go see some goofy old saints bones. Dinosaurs is whole different matter though.
    Love the blog Mr. Meyers.

  46. #46 namehere
    January 26, 2009

    sorry, I should have thanked Professor Myers. No excuse for getting the title and the spelling wrong. Great blog. I check it all the time.

  47. #47 Blue Fielder
    January 26, 2009

    @ #33: Nice pseudo-threat, Starfucker. Welcome to the Killfile.

    Hey, you think your Sky-Daddy is so big, tell him to come get me. Scumbag.

  48. #48 Zombie
    January 26, 2009

    I’m from Seattle, and I went yesterday.

    I’m not sure why more people aren’t going to see it, but I suspect its partly poor marketing – seems few of my friends have heard about it.

    It’s also bad timing, right after Christmas, and with all the economic hassles and so on.

    It’s a pretty good setup, actually. If Starbuck up there had $20, an open mind and was less lazy, she’d see that the exhibit does a pretty good job of explaining why Lucy is, in fact, related to and intermediate between humans and other great apes, based on skull features, hips, bipedalism, and so on.

  49. #49 Desert Son
    January 26, 2009

    Starbuck at #33 posted:

    And “Lucy” was not a human, she/he/it was a monkey of some kind.

    In the case of this particular skeletal formation, the characteristics of the pelvic bone indicate the mammal was a female.

    have a great day… Your good ones are severely numbered.

    Thanks! I’ll try! And it’s true, my good ones ARE severely numbered. Barring deadly accident, disease, organ failure, or similar occurrence, I’ve only got about forty or so years left to live, assuming average adult Caucasian male life span in the United States. I’m hoping my exercise and diet will help me reach another ten beyond the average, but we’ll see. All the more reason to enjoy life, and to try and do nice things for others, since it’s the only one I have!

    Thanks for the good wishes, and Happy Monkey!

    No kings,

    Robert

  50. #50 Dennis
    January 26, 2009

    I live in Seattle and it’s awesome!

    However I over heard a group of school kids on a field trip say “that’s it, a bunch of bones? It’s not even complete.”

  51. #51 Sigmund
    January 26, 2009

    “14
    “the exhibit drew 200,000 visitors in Houston”
    If Lucy came from Houston, how come there are still Texans?

  52. #52 jpf
    January 26, 2009

    They must have poor marketing or something

    If you saw the TV commercials they’re running and weren’t paying close attention, you’d think they were selling Monty Python DVDs. Two people with thick British accents talking to each other over wacky animation. I’m sure there’s lots of people who saw the commercials and couldn’t tell what they were for.

  53. #53 IanA
    January 26, 2009

    WHAT!

    I don’t actually live in Seattle but I’m within public-transit distance. I didn’t even KNOW about this!

  54. #54 jimi
    January 26, 2009

    I drove all the way up from Portland to see it. It was the closest thing I’ve ever had to a “religious experience”. I plan to take my kids before she’s gone.

  55. #55 Doo Shabag
    January 26, 2009

    I’m with a couple of the others . . . I go to Seattle daily, and hadn’t even heard Lucy was here. Crap marketing for sure.

  56. #56 Harry
    January 26, 2009

    It’s Seattle, where it needs to be “Lucy’s Skeleton” and consist of guitars, drums, and amps instead of bones.

  57. #57 raven
    January 26, 2009

    Just out of curiosity, what’s the creationist explanation for fossils of early hominids? Do they really claim that there were a bunch of creatures that were sorta, kinda like Homo sapiens but not really, that all got wiped out in the flood, or what?

    Their nonexplanation is always the same for any facts. They just lie a lot.

    They also have trouble with the stone ages. Since their mythological world is 6,000 years old, there shouldn’t even be a stone age.

    Like Starmoron who calls Lucy a monkey. Lucy doesn’t have a tail like all monkeys do. Which he would know if he wasn’t a moronic grade school dropout. She can’t be a monkey. She shares a common ancestor with tailess primates i.e. apes. As do we, since that fossil is on or near our line of descent.

  58. #58 Bacopa
    January 26, 2009

    Weird Lucy isn’t gett more attention in Seattle. They had to bring out the rope lines and wait time signs in Houston. I went on a Monday morning and there was still a pretty good crowd, though no waiting. I think pro science people are a little more militant down here and are much more motivated to understand that there are forces out there that would Orwell the memory of Lucy out of existence if they could.

    Why would anyone go to see this exhibit if it did now have the real fossils? I wouldn’t pay to see plastic.

  59. #59 Jason A.
    January 26, 2009

    @ Starbuck:

    Typical fundy christian, gleefully spewing threats. Because despite all their talk about the golden rule and loving your neighbor, the christian outlook is hateful to the core.

    You’re right, though, I do have a limited number of good days left. Which is why I choose not to waste them bowing before your imaginary friend.

  60. #60 raven
    January 26, 2009

    starbuck threatening mass extermination:

    Ach! The pure stupidity of evolutionists and athiests is shocking..

    Now, it is your turn to slam on me… But before you do, have a great day… Your good ones are severely numbered.

    Hard to say whether starbuck is a Poe or merely severely mentally ill.

    It is very xian to threaten to kill billions of people who don’t happen to buy into ancient mythology as reality.

    So where is silver fox when the xians threaten to kill billions or the fundie terrorists drive an SUV into a planned parenthood clinic in St. Pual. It is also very xian to lie constantly.

    Someone’s good days are already over. Their secular hero, Bush has left office in utter disgrace. When xian becomes synonymous with liar, hater, and killer, who would want to be one? Polls show that the majority of Americans, most of them xians themselves are sick and tired of the Death Cult version.

  61. #61 Jason A.
    January 26, 2009

    Oh, and about the Lucy exhibit. I agree, bad marketing. A couple of weeks ago I was in Seattle, and actually standing at the doors of the Pacific Science Center wondering what kind of exhibits they had inside. And I never knew Lucy was there till I read this story a couple days ago.

    I would have went in if I knew. I’m kinda disappointed I missed it.

  62. #62 Galapagos
    January 26, 2009

    Lame! I know I would be out there if it came through town. What a shame.

  63. #63 Randy
    January 26, 2009

    I went a couple of months ago and am likely to go with a bunch from Vancouver BC when they come down in February. It is a worthwhile exibit.
    Advertising hasn’t been greatly noticable. Unless you read the entertainment section in a newspaper, you are unlikely to see it. How many people get newspapers these days? One of the papers here is going bu-bye shortly due to lack of subscribers.
    TV ads have been lacking as well. (PSC isn’t the richest org around).

  64. #64 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 26, 2009

    Just a question, Starbuck. Why do Christians frequently end their posts with threats such as this? Out days are numbered? Are you threatening our lives? Or implying that we’re going to get struck down by your all mighty? This is the biggest mystery of Christians to me is the threats.

    It probably just means “the End Of The World? is due any minute now, and then you’ll be sorry!!!eleventyone!!!”.

  65. #65 RoaldFalcon
    January 26, 2009

    I drove a thousand miles to see Lucy in Houston. It was incredible?well worth the trip.

  66. #66 Molly
    January 26, 2009

    I’d love to see the exhibit, but at $23.25/person, well, that’s more than a week’s grocery money for my family of three.

  67. #67 Roussi
    January 26, 2009

    The marketing was, and still is (although intensifying recently), terrible.
    Even I, who had heard about the traveling exhibit, had hard time understanding it was the actual Lucy exhibit, and not an imitation just exploiting the interest. I couldn’t find a confirmation, anywhere, that it had the original fossil.
    It is as if they are trying really hard to *avoid* the controversy and to clearly state this is the actual fossil of an ancestor of ours.
    When my family and I went (late December), I thought it was well attended, and was surprised to read there was no enough interest.

  68. #68 Starbuck
    January 26, 2009

    Just a question, Starbuck. Why do Christians frequently end their posts with threats such as this? Out days are numbered? Are you threatening our lives? Or implying that we’re going to get struck down by your all mighty? This is the biggest mystery of Christians to me is the threats.

    Good grief, No I am not threatening you. I don’t even know you… never met. Even if we did, I wouldn’t threaten bodily harm upon anyone. Unless of course they tried to do me harm, then they wouldn’t be threats (If I was able of course!).

    Based upon my beliefs, you will feel the wrath of God. I know, I know.. you say silly and stupid and immoral. I say truth. One day, we will either both know for sure, or we will both know nothing (knowing nothing is your belief.).

    I have nothing against you. I just love to poke fun at the damned from time to time. I know, kind of childish. Well I have argued with athiests and to not one would listen. So now I have resorted to picking on them. Kind of like how a child rips the legs off spiders. It’s rather humorus.

  69. #69 FlyingButtress
    January 26, 2009

    Oh man, I loved visiting the Pacific Science Center when I was a kid. I was lucky enough to visit again a couple years ago. It’s sad to hear that they aren’t doing so well.

  70. #70 uncle frogy
    January 26, 2009

    a comment on L.A. there are many some cultural things to see in L.A. but the biggest obstacles to L.A. being a “great cultural center” is the fact that it is really mostly newer than 1940 and very spread out there is no center. We also seem to like knocking old stuff down to make new things for “money”. The Museums are not across the street from each other they are at best 45 min for each other some much further than that with lots of driving.
    If you do not live close which is likely it can be all day just for one trip.

    As to the question of why would anyone want to go see some old bones human or monkey or what ever. I find myself humbled and exalted by those “old things” as I am looking at the night sky which is rare where I live near L.A. harbor what with the massive light pollution for same. The contemplation of such vast stretches of time leaves me speechless.
    I too have to wonder about the frequent negative tag lines from “believers”?
    like have a nice day with a snarl!

  71. #71 Gindy
    January 26, 2009

    (PSC isn’t the richest org around).

    Yet they sure pay their executives well…

    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2009/01/25/always_be_closing

    Pacific Science Center facing bankruptcy in February. Amidst cuts to lower tier staff, executives continue giving themselves raises, funding pet projects, going on trips, and hiring more executives. PSC is 3 million+ in debt and will likely no longer be extended credit. PSC will be forced to close doors in February. Seattle will lose an icon… all because of greed and corruption.

  72. #72 Ed Darrell
    January 26, 2009

    We drove down to Houston from Dallas to see Lucy, and took the kids (21 and 18). Grand time. Great display. You also get to see all the other cool stuff in the museum.

    This is probably the last time they’ll let Lucy out of Africa and Ethiopia. In 30 years, your kids or grandkids will ask you if you went to see her when she was in your town. And what will you say?

    It’s a vacation, people! It’s for a good cause. You’ll come out smarter! Go!

  73. #73 PeteC
    January 26, 2009

    I saw it in the middle of the snow and ice last month. I noticed some ads for it, but I agree, it was not publicized very well.

    The thing is, the “Lucy” exhibit is really an exhibit on Ethiopia, with some paleoanthropology tacked on at the end. The government let her bones leave the country, but only as an ambassador for teaching about Ethiopia (fair play, in my opinion.)
    Still, it was pretty amazing to look at those bones and realize that millions of years ago those feet were really walking on the ground, the teeth were really chewing food, etc. Definitely worth going to – plus you get to learn a lot about Ethiopia!

  74. #74 uncle frogy
    January 26, 2009

    starbuck “Kind of like how a child rips the legs off spiders. It’s rather humorus.”

    you are truly sick if you think torturing anything is just funny even if it a spider how about flies or mice or cats or ???

    I can see what it is really about it is I am right and you are wrong and if you wont listen or agree then F U die!

    I am sorry

  75. #75 leisurelyviking
    January 26, 2009

    I drove 5.5 hours across the state just to see this in October, and it was well worth it. In addition to Lucy, they have fossil skulls from many other early hominids and artifacts and information about Ethiopia. It’s a really well done exhibit; admission is kind of steep on a grad student budget but I highly recommend it.

  76. #76 mayhempix
    January 26, 2009

    Ricky: Now look, honey, we all have to go sometime.

    Lucy: We do?

    Ricky: We do unless you know something the rest of us dun’t.

    Lucy: No, I dun’t.

  77. #77 Joel
    January 26, 2009

    Emailed by friend in Seattle, and ordered them to go.

  78. #78 Kevin F
    January 26, 2009

    The entire exhibit was well worth the travel time to see it. Lucy was what attracted me to the exhibit, but the rest of the display was very informative about Ethopia. See it while you have the chance !!!! You will regret missing it.

  79. #79 Jim
    January 26, 2009

    I live up in Nome Alaska and our college campus (part of UAF) has been hosting IPY (International Polar Year) speakers on topics such as climate change, its effects on marine ecosystems, and many topics – from leading researchers in their fields of study. We have been getting audiences of maybe around 20 – sometimes more when a teacher gives extra credit for her class to attend. Whereas a recent Korean tae-kwondo demonstration at the high school had over 200 in the audience. I think this about sums it all up nicely.

  80. #80 Leigh Williams
    January 26, 2009

    Starmoron vomited:

    Based upon my beliefs, you will feel the wrath of God. I know, I know.. you say silly and stupid and immoral. I say truth. One day, we will either both know for sure, or we will both know nothing (knowing nothing is your belief.).

    I have nothing against you. I just love to poke fun at the damned from time to time. I know, kind of childish. Well I have argued with athiests and to not one would listen. So now I have resorted to picking on them. Kind of like how a child rips the legs off spiders. It’s rather humorus.

    I’m not sure what’s more revolting about you . . . that you’re too sick to seek psychiatric help . . . or that you no doubt have found a “support group”, AKA church, of equally sick fucks to egg you on.

    But let me be clear, Death Cultist: You are NOT a Christian. You do NOT serve, or indeed even know, the Lord of Life. You are twisted and sadistic. Furthermore, you illustrate the banality of evil better than any troll we’ve had here for a while. You’re just silly — and you can’t spell.

  81. #81 Vic
    January 26, 2009

    #68
    Starbuck, ok I think I get it. It’s a warning, not a threat. The problem is, it really does read as a threat. Since we (atheists) do get our lives threatened (in very direct and unambiguous ways) by Christians that we have never met simply because we have different beliefs than them, may I suggest you word your message a bit clearer. Something like, “The End is Coming Soon, Repent, Repent!”

  82. #82 Sili
    January 26, 2009

    And “Lucy” was not a human, she/he/it was a monkey of some kind.

    So are you saying the monkeys weren’t created according to their kind? Very theologically controversial to claim that there is more than one ‘monkey-kind’, methinks.

    Baaaaaad fundie. No cracker for you.

  83. #83 Ann
    January 26, 2009

    What’s amusing about Starbuck’s “spiders” analogy isn’t just that it reveals his/her basically sick psyche, but that somehow he/she thinks atheists are truly harmed by these threats, in the same way that spiders are harmed when their legs are pulled off.
    I’m not harmed by your vague pronouncements, Starbuck, I’m bored. I’m bored by your blathering, fueled as it is by willful ignorance. You say that your beliefs are “truth,” but you have no evidence. Only wishful thinking. That’s not enough to bring to the table in any kind of rational discussion.

  84. #84 pdferguson
    January 26, 2009

    Hmmm. It’s only Lucy’s skeleton? If Snoopy and Charlie Brown were also on display, I might make the effort…

  85. #85 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 26, 2009

    Kind of like how [?] rather humorous.

    So you’re a self-confessed troll? You know what happens to trolls?

    (That’s not a threat — I’m after all not the blog owner. It’s a warning.)

    a child rips the legs off spiders.

    Speak for yourself. You must have been an incredible asshole as a child — either that, or you were too dense to figure out that a spider is a living being just like you. Or of course both.

  86. #86 Satan
    January 26, 2009

    I just love to poke fun at the damned from time to time.

    You’ll have plenty of opportunity to “poke fun” when you are among the damned yourself.

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. ?Many will say to Me on that day, ?Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?? ?And then I will declare to them, ?I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.?

    But do carry on, and I’ll see you real soon, with an exceedingly warm welcome!

  87. #87 christian aaron
    January 26, 2009

    I live in Seattle and hadn’t heard a thing about the exhibit. I mean, I’m busy, but not oblivious. Dunno where the marketing is. But now I’ve heard it here, and will get my ass over there. Very cool. Sorry to hear about the greed and corruption driving PSC into the ground…. ah, the wonderful universality of greed and corruption, that it extends to our little Seattle liberal enclave…. :-)

    And Starbuck… your brand of stupid burns more than any hellfire ever could. cheers!

  88. #88 Pareidolius
    January 26, 2009

    Starbuck (19) (33)
    The problem with flame wars on this (or any) blog is that we all function pretty much with the mindset of “the more you disapprove of me, the more I like it”. So even though I’m chomping at the bit to launch rational mockery your way, I find there’s really nothing much I want to say to you. Nothing said here will change your mind. No invectives about stoopid theists will really hurt you. As I see it, our posts speak volumes about us and really say nothing whatsoever about the subject we all feel so passionately about. And yet, being a good primate, I can’t resist my daily Pharyngula . . . Yaweh’s a psychotic ass hat. There, I feel better now.

  89. #89 Pareidolius
    January 26, 2009

    Starbuck (19) (33)
    The problem with flame wars on this (or any) blog is that we all function pretty much with the mindset of “the more you disapprove of me, the more I like it”. So even though I’m chomping at the bit to launch rational mockery your way, I find there’s really nothing much I want to say to you. Nothing said here will change your mind. No invectives about stoopid theists will really hurt you. As I see it, our posts speak volumes about us and really say nothing whatsoever about the subject we all feel so passionately about. And yet, being a good primate, I can’t resist my daily Pharyngula . . . Yaweh’s a psychotic ass hat. There, I feel better now.

  90. #90 pdferguson
    January 26, 2009

    Based upon my beliefs, you will feel the wrath of God. I know, I know.. you say silly and stupid and immoral. I say truth.

    Truth? Apparently you don’t know the meaning of this simple English word.

    Of course, in Christ-speak, the word “truth” has no real meaning at all. It’s just a hollow word to make you feel good about yourself, isn’t it?

    One day, we will either both know for sure, or we will both know nothing (knowing nothing is your belief.).

    Ah, Pascal’s wager, right on schedule. Yawn…

  91. #91 Iron Soul
    January 26, 2009

    My wife took me to see Lucy for my birthday in October. I thought it was great exhibit. Everything I was hoping for. Though I wouldn’t have know Lucy would be there this winter if I hadn’t stopped by in the summer and seen the poster inside.

  92. #92 Gregory Kusnick
    January 26, 2009

    I’ve seen quite a few school buses parked around Seattle Center lately, so presumably somebody’s getting to see it (although probably not at full ticket price). But I agree with others about the poor marketing; if I didn’t walk past PSC a couple of times a week, I wouldn’t know Lucy was in there.

    But Lucy’s not the only thing people aren’t going to see in Seattle. Nutcracker lost money this year, and several small theater and arts groups have closed their doors. These are hard times for everybody.

  93. #93 Jen
    January 26, 2009

    My husband and I flew from CA to see the exhibit… Tons of fun and totally worth it. Plus, it’s next door to a great Sci-Fi museum! Hit those, and top it off with dinner at the Needle… makes for a great little vacation trip!

  94. #94 Buffybot
    January 26, 2009

    Discovery Institute minions must be sneaking out at night and stealing all the ‘This Way To Lucy’==> arrow signs.

  95. #95 -
    January 26, 2009

    Am I right in saying this what you will see? (among other pieces):

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/da/Lucy_Skeleton.jpg

    I can see some people being eager to see this, but I can also understand why not everyone is as excited by it. And don’t feel one ought to judge another person negatively regarding such preferences.

  96. #96 Lance
    January 26, 2009

    My wife’s home town is Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. On a visit to the Ethiopian National Museum I saw Lucy, or as the Ethiopians call her “Dinkinesh” which means wonderful or amazing in Amharic the national language of Ethiopia.

    I was shocked to find her in a small and rather amateurish exhibit in the basement of the museum. She was in a small glass case that you could walk right up to as evidenced by the many fingerprints and nose marks on the glass. The rest of the about 500 square foot exhibit consisted of a couple of fossils and murals of large prehistoric animals (sorry I can?t identify these other fossils but I wasn?t paying much attention to these rather prosaic pieces).

    I was dumbfounded that one of the greatest finds in human history was relegated to a small, poorly thought out exhibit in the basement!

    The Ethiopians have a rather difficult relationship with Lucy. They are proud that such a prized and important scientific discovery was made in their country but they are also a very religious people steeped in the ?history? of the bible. I have yet to meet an Ethiopian that openly embraced evolution and in fact most, if not all of the Ethiopians I know, openly mock it.

    When I first started to learn Amharic I looked up the word for Atheist and found the word khedat. It turns out this word also means betrayal or traitor. This gives you some idea of the difficulty that the highly religious and isolated culture of Ethiopia has with science or secular modernity in general.

    So they are proud she was found in Ethiopia but still the vast majority of people don?t really see the big deal since she is just a ?tota? (ape) to them and if you ask them where the human race came from they will unflinchingly say Adam and Hewa (Eve) and laugh at the idea that we share any ancestry with ?zinjoroch?( monkeys).

    It is just one of the many difficulties experienced by a proud and long isolated Feudal-Neolithic culture being dragged into the electronic age.

  97. #97 Jason A.
    January 26, 2009

    Starbuck:

    Kind of like how a child rips the legs off spiders. It’s rather humorus.

    Yet more evidence of the sickness and depravity in the mind of a death cultist.

    If you think you’re frightening us or doing us any harm with your comments, you’re way off. Oh, we squirm when we read your posts, but not for the reasons you think…

  98. #98 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2009

    I have nothing against you. I just love to poke fun at the damned from time to time. I know, kind of childish. Well I have argued with athiests and to not one would listen. So now I have resorted to picking on them. Kind of like how a child rips the legs off spiders. It’s rather humorus.

    Difference is you aren’t picking on us, you are acting like a child. Just like your analogy except you aren’t harming us in any way. You have no proof of your god or afterlife so basically you coming here “picking” on the “damned” is merely an exercise in mental masturbation. You know what your little book says about the big guy and what he did to Onan.

  99. #99 Jim Loter
    January 26, 2009

    Echoing other Seattlites on this thread who were surprised about this: I was at the Pacific Science Center last weekend to take my son to see a model train exhibition and I still didn’t know about the Lucy exhibit. In fact, we later learned we had missed half of the train exhibition because they had setups in other buildings. I even had a map. I think it’s a combination of poor PR/marketing and a confusing exhibition space.

  100. #100 Pygmy Loris
    January 26, 2009

    This sucks! I had not seen the news that Lucy wouldn’t be coming to the Field Museum and I can’t afford to fly to Seattle.

    Just as a note: This is the first time Lucy has left Ethiopia and one of the only times the actual fossils are on display. The exhibit Lance mentioned in Ethiopia is a replica not the real thing. I was soooo looking forward to seeing the real Lucy in Chicago and now I’m going to go cry for awhile. Damn the failing economy!

  101. #101 mayhempix
    January 26, 2009

    “I just love to poke fun at the damned from time to time. I know, kind of childish. Well I have argued with athiests and to not one would listen. So now I have resorted to picking on them. Kind of like how a child rips the legs off spiders. It’s rather humorus.”

    (Picking jaw up from ground)

    Torturing bugs and animals is often a sign that a male child will grow up to harbor misogynistic authoritarian sexual power fantasies and take pleasure in women’s physical suffering. Sometimes those fantasies spill into the real world and you have a Ted Bundy or Dennis Rader.

    I’m just saying.

  102. #102 Espi
    January 26, 2009

    I drove three hours from San Antonio to Houston and I tell you it was well worth it! So Seattle: GET OFF YOUR BUTTS AND GO… you won’t be sorry.

  103. #103 Timothy
    January 26, 2009

    I’ll blame the large number of creationist nuts we’ve got here in Seattle. That and the $21 price tag. YIKES!

    Maybe I’ll go have a look on Thursday though.

  104. #104 Jordan
    January 26, 2009

    Here is San Diego we have a replica of Lucy on display at the Museum of Man in Balboa park. I think it’s amazing that there isn’t a replica in every science museum in every major city in the country… That being said, as much as I’d like to see the “real thing” I don’t think my budget could afford to go see an exhibit like that. Real/Replica is negligible for my pocket book. I hope those with the income to throw money at something like that do go however…

  105. #105 E.V.
    January 26, 2009

    You do realize that Starbuck types with only one hand.

    It’s best just to ignore him so he won’t get off on responses of outrage and spooge all over his keyboard.

  106. #106 tim
    January 26, 2009

    We saw Lucy at PSC a month or two ago. I have to admit that I wasn’t all that excited about going to see some bones in a glass case, but once we got into the exhibit I was quite impressed. There’s a huge bunch of well-put-together information and exhibits about Ethiopia, leading up to a section of interactive exhibits about paleontology and evolution, with the Lucy skeleton at the very end. It took us about 2 hours to go through the whole thing, if I remember correctly.

    And it only cost us something like $10 apiece, since they had some kind of discount going on for weekends. It’s not on their website; we had to call to find out.

  107. #107 Lance
    January 26, 2009

    Pygmy Loris,

    You just burst my bubble!

    I saw the exhibit two times separated by two years. I just searched the internet and it seems you are right and I only saw a replica.

    I read the plaques on the displays and I don’t remember them saying anything about the bones lying flat in the glass case being “recreations” but it might have been written in poorly translated English and at that time my Amharic was very rudimentary.

    At least that explains why the glass case was so easily accessible and had no security of any kind but, hey the rest of the museum, full of their national treasures, was just as accessible and easily damaged or stolen as Lucy.

    Next you’ll tell me that the Arc of the Covenant in the little chapel I visited in Axum was just a “replica”. Well then explain the melted Nazi’s I saw outside the building!

  108. #108 meloniesch
    January 26, 2009

    Speaking as someone who was brought up as a young earth creationist (and has since recovered), I can tell you that YEC’s believe most hominid fossils are extinct species belonging to the ape ‘kind’. Creationist literature emphasises the ape-like characteristics of hominids and claim similarities to homo sapiens have been greatly exagerated. ‘How can they tell that from such a small piece of bone’ is one favourite. Of course they also go on and on about forgeries like Piltdown Man. YEC’s generally don’t see hominid remains as challenging to their faith.

  109. #109 Pygmy Loris
    January 26, 2009

    Lance,

    I’m sorry about bursting your bubble. I was just saying that Lucy is almost never exhibited. :)

    Melted Nazis…now that would be good publicity for an exhibit ;)

  110. #110 Fatboy
    January 26, 2009

    Just out of curiosity, what’s the creationist explanation for fossils of early hominids? Do they really claim that there were a bunch of creatures that were sorta, kinda like Homo sapiens but not really, that all got wiped out in the flood, or what?

    Well, the truth is that most creationists (the rank & file) really aren’t aware of just how many of those fossils there are (since most people wouldn’t remain creationists if they did realize just how much evidence there is for evolution). From talking to friends and co-workers, the creationists I know think that hominid fossils are either apes or hoaxes (ala Piltdown man), and that there are very few of those fossils, anyway. Regarding the leaders of the creationist movement, I become more and more tempted to believe that they’re liars.

    Living in northern Texas, I made the 6 hour drive to Houston to see Lucy when she was here. I thought that seeing the actual fossils was incredible, and I’m extremely grateful that the faction who thought she was too scientifically important to travel for us non-scientific types to see didn’t win out. I certainly wouldn’t have made that drive to see casts.

    For anyone who’s seen the exhibit in Seattle, I’d be curious if the exhibit’s pretty much the same as it was in Houston (my review for comparison).

  111. #111 Watchman
    January 26, 2009

    Starbuck = Waste of time

    Such an unfortunate waste of a good handle.

  112. #112 gwangung
    January 26, 2009

    I have nothing against you. I just love to poke fun at the damned from time to time. I know, kind of childish. Well I have argued with athiests and to not one would listen. So now I have resorted to picking on them. Kind of like how a child rips the legs off spiders. It’s rather humorus.

    Actually, that’s sinful and in reality, blocks others from receiving the word of God. By your own words, you’re saying that you’re using Christianity as an excuse to pick on people.

    This just reveals your true nature, which is neither righteous or Christian.

  113. #113 Julianne
    January 26, 2009

    The exhibit is ridiculously expensive. It’s $20+ per adult to get in, and not that much less for kids. This is on top of what it costs to get into the Science Center (which is also spendy). My parents took my kids, and it was well over a hundred bucks by the time they were through.

    Not exactly a family-friendly introduction to science.

  114. #114 Fatboy
    January 26, 2009

    Bah. That’s what I get for commenting here at work – in the 20 minutes it took me to type up my comment, meloniesch wrote pretty much exactly what I was trying to say. And then I still didn’t notice for another 20 minutes. Damn my work for getting in the way of keeping up with Pharyngula comments. Oh well, as soon as I start getting a paycheck for reading blogs, then I guess I can start to complain.

  115. #115 LokiDokie
    January 26, 2009

    I live in Seattle and have not seen or heard of any advertising for it. You would think if they spend the money to bring it, they would advertise. It was covered on the news as a money-loser, causing potential layoffs at the Science Center.
    I am planning on going (although it’s friggin’ expensive).

  116. #116 meloniesch
    January 26, 2009

    It was actually learning about hominid fossils at university that finally cured me of my young earth creationist beliefs. So a big thank you to Turkana Boy, et al.

  117. #117 whiskeyjack
    January 26, 2009

    I’m in Seattle, I actually have a degree in Anthropology and this is the first I’ve heard of Lucy being here. Now I haven’t exactly been keeping tabs on her whereabouts but I think the PSC could probably have done a better job with advertising.

  118. #118 Sven DiMilo
    January 26, 2009

    The exhibit is ridiculously expensive. It’s $20+ per adult to get in

    *shrug* Such a deal.
    Base ticket price to see the Dead this spring is $98 per. Now that’s outrageous. (But I’ll be at Madison Square Garden nevertheless.)

  119. #119 dejah
    January 26, 2009

    I feel very sorry for Starbuck — religious fanaticism and hatred usually means the person is at end of any kind of higher thought process; the next step will be foaming at the mouth and gnashing of teeth — a definite diagnosis of madness and rabidity. It’s best not to encourage these poor unfortunates as they simply can’t handle much more stress.

    So, please, ignore this jerk.

    As for the issue of the Lucy exhibit — if it costs more to get in than the cost of the science center, and you have a family to get through there, you can imagine why they’re not buying tickets. Somebody didn’t think this one through too well, did they?

    I’d go though — it’s interesting and educational to learn all we can about evolution on this planet. Even the endpoints of evolution, like ol starbuck over there in the corner, jacking himself off to oblivion and muttering in his none-too-clean beard.

  120. #120 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2009

    *shrug* Such a deal. Base ticket price to see the Dead this spring is $98 per. Now that’s outrageous. (But I’ll be at Madison Square Garden nevertheless.)

    I’ll be in Greensboro. The place of many former shows I attended.

  121. #121 Leanstrum
    January 26, 2009

    I would definitely attend, but I draw the line at flying across the Atlantic for one exhibit. Sorry for the lack of commitment.

  122. #122 Marc Abian
    January 26, 2009

    I feel very sorry for Starbuck

    Don’t. Lucky guy made fstdt. All the other fundies will be jealous.

  123. #123 Rey Fox
    January 26, 2009

    “I think Seattle would turn out to see Kennewick man, he is of more local interest”

    Having spent time in both places, I don’t think the people of Seattle would be interested in ANYTHING coming out of Kennewick.

    Starbuck the Death Cultist:
    “I know, kind of childish.”

    Yeah, almost as childish as busting on people for being interested in artifacts of historical antiquity. Human or not, monkey or not*, if you’re not even the slightest bit interested in the history of man or of beast, and are even hostile to those who are, then you must live one hell of an intellectually impoverished existence. And one filled with spite and jealousy. I mean sheesh, even your fellow Christians must be embarrassed at you.

    * And just what do you have against monkeys, anyway? Did one bite you?

    “Well I have argued with athiests and to not one would listen.”

    I bet most of them did. You can’t mistake not falling to their knees and singing hosannas for not listening.

    “So now I have resorted to picking on them. Kind of like how a child rips the legs off spiders. It’s rather humorus.”

    And you’ll know they are Christians by their love.

  124. #124 Alpental Maven
    January 26, 2009

    I went to the exhibit last weekend with my wife. We both learned quite a bit about Ethiopia but less about human origins. I was not super impressed with the exhibit, not enough bones and depth for my taste. It was as if the designers could not decide who they were making it for. There were long museum like parts with paintings and cultural artifacts, where the kids (other people’s)were bored and then interactive parts where adults could not get near the exhibits. The actual orginal Lucy fossils (not replica) were displayed in a case horizontally. I thought they were respectfully displayed. There was definately security, I guess Pymy Loris did not notice it. That is a hallmark of good security.

    Overall my review: Needs more human origins, less biblical mythology of Ethiopia. Definately worth the $8.75 member price, a stretch to be worth $22 non-member, except that you will never get the chance to pay your respects to this great-great^x grandmother again.

  125. #125 Johnny
    January 26, 2009

    I?m planning to attend a Don Johanson lecture at Florida State on March 27th ? but to the best of my knowledge, Lucy isn?t making the trip.

  126. #126 Lance
    January 26, 2009

    Update: talked to the my wife, Kidist, and she assures me that the time I saw the exhibit at the Ethopian National Museum with her it was the real deal and not the replicas.

    Sadly except for it being in a different part of the museum I didn’t notice the difference between the replica and the real bones. Of course the visits were two years apart so I’m letting myself off the “not too observant” hook.

    Speaking of which how do we know those are the real ones in Seattle and not the replica? Would it really matter if they were such good replicas that you couldn’t tell? I didn’t notice that I had seen the fake ones one time and the real the next.

    And fossilized bones are not the original bones any way but mineral formations that “replicate” the original biological material…

    Perhaps this is a philosophical question.

  127. #127 naughty savage
    January 26, 2009

    I feel I need to say it, although it’s been said by a few others before me:

    I have a degree in Anthropology, I live two hours away, and I had NO IDEA Lucy was in Seattle until I read this post! What has the Pacific Science Center been spending their marketing budget on?

  128. #128 NFPendleton
    January 26, 2009

    This is sad. Just getting to see the plaster replicas at the Chicago Field Museum a few years back got me all faklempt… and that was the year they had the Akhenaten relics on display!

    I just read that… Super Dork signing off!

  129. #129 Cynickal
    January 26, 2009

    You’ll have to come out here and see it.
    I’ll buy you a drink at The 5 Point across the street.

  130. #130 Rowan
    January 26, 2009

    i live in the portland metro area.

    time for a road trip!!!!

  131. #131 Libbie
    January 26, 2009

    Although I am currently stuck in the great theocratic state of Utah, I live in Seattle and I did get to see Lucy. It was as close to a religious experience as I’ve had since I wised up and left religion behind me. I cried over the fossil. I’m not afraid to admit it. I bawled like a baby.

    It’s a beautiful experience. That’s all I can say. I’ve been meaning to write about it in my own blog, and maybe I’ll do that later tonight now that P.Z. has mentioned it.

    I’m shocked that Seattleites aren’t flocking to see Lucy. How many times in your life will you get this opportunity?

    A few days before I left for Utah, while doing my volunteer shift at the zoo, I met a woman and her young son (about six years old, I think) who were visiting the city and asked me for recommendations on what else to do. I told them they HAD to see Lucy. What’s cool is that this little boy knew exactly who I was talking about. “The fossil? THE Lucy? Mom, we HAVE TO GO!!”

    What an awesome kid.

  132. #132 Fertron
    January 26, 2009

    First time commenting. I lurk mostly, but since I’m a Seattleite I thought I would comment on this. Last summer I had heard about Lucy’s exhibit, but then I didn’t hear much again. I had also read about the controversy of taking the bones on tour. To tell you the truth, as a scientist I was kind of torn. On the one hand you everyone (including me!!!) to see them, but then you know how valuable they are. In the end I have pretty much come to the conclusion that it is more productive to have lots of people see them. I think that for some time scientists can work with casts and people should see the real thing. It is a unique experience after all.

    Sometime in December we got invited to a bday party at the PSC. When we got there they told us that we could go into the exhibits for free. Except Lucy, of course. We decided to go anyway. The full tickets would have been expensive. (I agree with people that the weather didn’t really helped either.) My wife and I really wanted to see it and we especially wanted our 5yo girl to see Lucy too. She is very interested in evolution, ancestors and so on, she is also starting to really get the gist of the whole thing (let’s say she has a better understanding of it than your average creationist :-). I wasn’t really that surprised that there were that few people. After all it was snowing outside.

    The exhibit itself is quite nice. I’m pretty used to all this stuff (I’m not a paleoanthropologist, but I have a good idea of the topic) and I was impressed by some of the presentations. There is one with three LCD displays were they show (side by side) how you can determine that a human,
    A. Afarensis and a chimp walk(ed) in different ways. There is also a very interesting gallery with casts of crania from the earliest to the more modern branches. These are obviously replicas, but they are excellent. The Ethiopian exhibits were also quite nice.

    Personally, I don’t understand how people can not feel a bit emotional about been in the presence of those bones. I always feel that way when I’m in the presence of something with such a historical significance. I felt the same way when I saw the Enola Gay exhibit, the JFK tomb, Constitution Hall, etc. (And I’m not even American!!)

    Anyway, I thought it was time to share.

  133. #133 dogmeatib
    January 26, 2009

    Kennewick man, he is of more local interest as one of the paleo-Americans that first settled the Americas before the Native Americans arrived. Lucy and Kennewick man would make a great combo tour. The Kennewick display could be accompanied by culture exhibits of the transition from paleo-American artifacts to Native American artifacts, as the paleo-Americans were exterminated and displaced.

    africangenesis, given that Kennewick Man is dated to about 7000 BCE, he wouldn’t precede the first Native Americans with sites ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 years prior to that time period. Also his ancestry and genetics are seriously contested with more recent data suggesting that he was Asian in ancestry which would still fit within the overall migration pattern even if you accept the idiotic “ice free corridor” theory.

  134. #134 procyon
    January 26, 2009

    Is the tour itinerary a BIG SECRET? All I can find out is that it will be at the Field Museum in Chicago from November 2009 through April 2010 and that the Denver Museum of Nature and Science also is “tentatively set to exhibit Lucy”. Any East Coast venues?

  135. #135 Intelligent Designer
    January 26, 2009

    I haven’t read all the comments so someone might have already mentioned this. Houston is the 4th largest city in the US and is almost four times as big as Seattle. I would not expect the same turnout.

    I live in the Seattle area I hear Lucy being advertized every day on KIRO News Radio 97.3 FM. But I’m a talk radio junky. Also the Science Center isn’t a very parking friendly place.

    By the way, I am currently reading “Why Evolution is True”.

  136. #136 Doo Shabag
    January 26, 2009

    I was just checking the Pacific Science Center website to see if they offer a student discount. You would think yes, right? No.

    Anyway, the banner ad on the front page (pacsci.org) says “Lucy’s Legacy, The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia, the Discovery of a Lifetime”.

    Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t scream “hey, we’ve got the original frickin fossil, you’ve got to see it, this is a once in a lifetime chance!” And they are surprised no one is coming to see the fossil . . . perhaps because their marketing doesn’t tell you about it?

  137. #137 Charon
    January 26, 2009

    The advertisements have been all over buses for months now. They aren’t completely quiet about it.

    On the other hand, it’s expensive (I don’t know how much special exhibits usually are, but $21 was a little steep for a museum). My girlfriend and I went even so, and it was a nice exhibit. There were a lot of people there when we went (November), but apparently the crowds didn’t keep up.

  138. #138 Monado in Toronto
    January 26, 2009

    I have a feeling that the museum doesn’t want anti-evolution protesters–or maybe there’s no sponsor, again! And so there’s hardly any advertising. The first I heard about it was a news item saying that the museum was losing money on it.

    This is the last stop for “Lucy” before she goes back to Africa, probably forever.

    Last year, we drove from Toronto through about ten states to go to Miami and see the Chinese dinosaurs/birds exhibit. It was awe-inspiting. And we were able to hit the science-blogging conference on the way by.

  139. #139 dogmeatib
    January 26, 2009

    *sigh*

    Pity it can’t come to Phoenix, that’s at least a reasonable travel distance for me. But no, Phoenix, 5th largest city in the country, can’t do anything like that. If they got the exhibit they’d probably stick it in a trailer and use it to prop up a copper ingot and two handed saw to celebrate Arizona business.

    *heavy sigh*

    Intelligent Designer, my copy of “Why Evolution is True” arrived Saturday … have to finish “Fish With Fingers, Whales with Legs” first… ;o)

  140. #140 Brian
    January 26, 2009

    Another Seattleite chiming in here. I do think that the lack of controversy does play a part. Disco Institute notwithstanding, this isn’t a terribly irrational chunk of the country. I think a lot of us don’t feel the need to reassure ourselves that Lucy is/was real.

    I myself went to see Lucy back in October, but I was accompanying a four-year-old girl who loves bones. I likely wouldn’t have gone to see Lucy without her — I believe Lucy exists without having to see the fossil remains for myself.

  141. #141 Glenn Grace
    January 26, 2009

    I sent the article to 2 friends in Seattle and one replied:

    THANK YOU! I hadn’t even heard about this! And I listen to public radio. I think their advertising isn’t up to snuff.

    I will go. Wouldn’t miss it!

    Judy

    So if we do a little action here maybe we can get their show off the ground!

  142. #142 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 26, 2009

    You’ll have plenty of opportunity to “poke fun” when you are among the damned yourself.

    And you’ll know they are Christians by their love.

    I should have piled on the theology, too. Behold the Epistle of James, chapter 2, KJV:

    2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

    There goes Starbuck, implying he knows he’s not (going to be) damned, and his own holy book says he not only doesn’t know that, he risks being damned himself if he keeps being a trolling asshole.

    And fossilized bones are not the original bones any way but mineral formations that “replicate” the original biological material…

    Nope. It’s the real bone, with all cavities filled in by other minerals. The bone material itself is usually not replaced, though it’s sometimes recrystallized.

  143. #143 Monado
    January 26, 2009

    “Awe-inspiring,” I meant to type.

  144. #144 Monado
    January 26, 2009

    Do go to see it if you can — a photograph is not as informative as a real object, whether it’s a cast or not. For one thing, you can see the size. You can move your head back and forth and see more than one angle. You can see all of it, not just the most picturesque view that the photographer took. When I saw the fossils of feathered dinosaurs and early birds, I could see that the pigments in the feathers had stained the rock and that the palaeontologists’ work had exposed, not created, the features. It’s a trip. Even if it’s the grocery money — can you tap into the vacation fund and declare it a mini-vacation? The memories can last a lifetime.

  145. #145 Monado
    January 26, 2009

    One final suggestion for people in the Seattle area: can you go at free-admission times? Are there such? Where I live, the museums and Science Centre and public art gallery all get government support to run as educational and tourism sites. One of the conditions is that everyone must be able to visit sometimes. So they have some free admission times: maybe just the last hour on Tuesday or Friday, but something. So look into it!

  146. #146 Kathy
    January 26, 2009

    I’m going! I’m going! For Valentine’s Day, my husband and I will make the drive from Portland to go see this exhibit. For me, it feels like the culmination of a series of events that started about 20 years ago, when I wrote a paper for a physical anthropology class about Lucy.

  147. #147 epawtows
    January 26, 2009

    Well, I saw it, when along with a group from the Seattle-area SF club. That was last fall, and it seemed pretty crowded at the time.

  148. #148 sara
    January 26, 2009

    why does it have to come when i’m young, still in college, and have limited money/time!?

  149. #149 C. M. Baxter
    January 26, 2009

    In October of ?07 I drove from Southern Nevada to Port Arthur Texas, ostensibly to visit my older sister. My real purpose, however, was to visit a much older relative in Houston. I spent six hours of my 65th birthday visiting the Lucy exhibit. In the rooms of the exhibit featuring various icons and artifacts from Ethiopia, visitors talked in a normal voice and even joked and laughed. But in ?Lucy?s room? the mood was completely different. Her remains were displayed in a dimly lit, glass-topped cabinet about waiste-high. Here, the visitors spoke to one another in hushed voices, barely above a whisper and there was no jocularity at all. I cannot accurately describe my experience while looking down at Lucy but it was profound and, yes, it made me cry.

    The entire trip took me seven days (one day with my sister) and some 3,500 miles and cost around $2,000.00. Needless to say, I don?t regret a minute, a mile, or a penny of it.

  150. #150 Fred
    January 26, 2009

    I wish it were open a little longer, I am making a trip out there on soon afterwards to visit family. Bah.

  151. #151 Godless
    January 26, 2009

    I went and it was just awesome. LUCY!!!

    Like the PP I had tears in my eyes, and I didn’t see the sign that said not to lean on the cabinet. Just amazing. Almost more striking than her bones was the recreation of what she could have looked like. Absolutely fascinating.

  152. #152 Lithp
    January 26, 2009

    Aww, Startard flew the coop, and I didn’t even achieve a lolgasm!

  153. #153 Trish
    January 26, 2009

    I need to find out where she’s going after Seattle. There is no way I want to miss seeing her. There’s no way in hell I will if I’m not already too late.

  154. #154 JRM
    January 26, 2009

    I’m kind of surprised by how many people say they saw no advertising. And to the guy who said he was at the science center and had no idea about the exhibit, WOW. There’s a huge banner on the front of the building and tons of signs at the back entrance (by the Seattle Center). I personally found the exhibit to be profound and amazing and beautiful and I have told all my friends and coworkers to see it. I’m so sorry to hear it’s not doing well. What a missed opportunity for people in Seattle.

  155. #155 Trish
    January 26, 2009

    Crap! I got too excited about the thought of seeing her that I didn’t read thoroughly. She might be going back to Africa? No! Please no!!!

  156. #156 skepsci
    January 26, 2009

    I was thinking about going when I was in town for the holidays, but it was really expensive for a poor grad student.

  157. #157 C. M. Baxter
    January 26, 2009

    ?it may close after its Seattle run, and I won’t get to see it!?

    PZ! Get off YOUR Butt! You travel all over the country, giving talks and whatnot. Surely you can squeeze in a visit to Lucy before March 8th. You of all people; Shame!

  158. #158 CJM
    January 26, 2009

    Guess I know what I’m doing for my birthday next month. PacSci center during the day, then the Lion King.

    I’m just going to hope I don’t have a midterm that day, like every one of my birthdays in the last four years…

  159. #159 bobxxxx
    January 27, 2009

    The economy sucks right now so the museum needs to lower its price to get more visitors. Or maybe they should try letting kids in free if one adult pays full price.

    Interesting picture in the news article. So that’s what my ancestors looked like 3 million years ago. A few million Christians would become mentally disturbed if they thought animals like Lucy were their ancestors.

  160. #160 Trish
    January 27, 2009

    Ok I’m really starting to sweat this now. Seattle better not be her last stop. I would cry. (for real and serious) She’s on my big list of ‘must sees’ before I die. I’m moving back to Florida next week so Seattle is not going to be possible.

    If she does end up travelling closer to Florida, then I see a bus trip in my future.

    The not knowing is killing me now. It’s aweful.

    Must .. take .. a xanax … now. /sob

  161. #161 Mike Powell
    January 27, 2009

    I took my 10-12 y.o. daughters to see the Lucy exhibit in Seattle last October. It really was great, although I’m not sure they quite appreciated the importance of what they were seeing.

    If you go and take your kids, I’d advise breezing quickly through the first half of the exhibit, which is composed of all sorts of Ethiopian religious artifacts from the past couple hundred years. Some of it was pretty, but as a family of atheists we were mostly just annoyed by it — we’d just drove 3 hours to see *Lucy* — not a bunch of old wooden crosses… at least that’s how my daughters saw it. Go see the human ancestry part of the exhibit first and then backtrack against the flow if you want to see the religious artifacts.

  162. #162 Monado
    January 27, 2009

    Here’s a bit of info on museum admissions to be had:

    * Seattle Science Center: 2nd adult admission free (2/1 deal)

    * Round-up of free museum days in Seattle and Tacoma: Other museums. “The Pacific Science Center does not offer free days, but memberships cost just a little more than a day’s admission and come with IMAX theater tickets, guest passes, discounts at museum stores and more.”

    Of course, you’ll still have to pay extra to get into the special exhibit.

    If you have a membership in another museum, check the membership benefits. Many museums have reciprocal visiting privileges for their members, at museums in other cities.

  163. #163 Monado
    January 27, 2009

    It is possible to damn the expenses, put it on credit, and just go. I did that once to see a total eclipse of the sun. No regrets.

    It seems more a matter of energy than money.

  164. #164 rob
    January 27, 2009

    Ok, this is probably going to piss people off but I’d really like to know.

    What’s the big deal about seeing something in person? As opposed to, say, watching a documentary DVD where you can see Lucy and a bunch of other fossils and CG reconstructions and commentary by experts and all that. Do you actually glean some knowledge by looking at the actual bone fragments?

    It seems to me that the need to see it in person has some sort of…symbolic value maybe? Sorta like a … photo of a person being more than just a piece of paper and some ink? A cracker being…. ok maybe I better not go there.

    But I still don’t get it.

  165. #165 Glenn Grace
    January 27, 2009

    From my earlier message reported one is going but the other reported this:
    “Probably several reasons people arn’t going………..beyond the reasons cited in articles. One………..I never even knew Lucy was in town until reading an article that people weren’t going. And I cruise the on-line PI just about every day. Guess it is hard to get the word out. Two…………parking is miserable. And you have to brave I-5 to get there. Three………….everyone has seen what the human skeleton looks like. Lucy is just a pint sized version. Me thinks an exhibit of T-rex bones would fare better. But maybe not…………I have seen those too. Still………..it is unfortunate for the Center. But it just doesn’t have enuf “pull” to get me there.

    Situation is getting closer to home. Cynthia’s gal friend got laid off. Jerrie got her hours cut. Another family member works at Wa-Mu. He is loosing his job. It is getting serious around here. Boeing, M-soft. Probably the primary reason Lucy is not playing well.”

    As you can see by my friends refusal, the economy is affecting the real world in the area around Seattle big time and lots of things including Lucy will suffer.

  166. #166 peter
    January 27, 2009

    Monado @ 162

    If you have a membership in another museum, check the membership benefits. Many museums have reciprocal visiting privileges for their members, at museums in other cities.

    The Creation Museum is into deals like that isn’t it? Might be worth checking.

  167. #167 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    DogMeatIB@133,

    Kennewick man is thought to be of Asian origin, related to the Ainu of Japan. Those earlier sites would be the sites of his people. Do you have any evidence of more modern Mongoloid fossils dating to an ealier period? Kennewick and similar bones are the earliest and best preserved.

    There are cultural similarities that suggest European influence, but that hypothesis is still considered speculative, and that influence may be cultural only without significant genetic impact.

  168. #168 Sitakali
    January 27, 2009

    According to the comments on the article in the Seattle Times, people aren’t going because of the cost. I don’t know about you, but if I were in the Seattle area I’d be willing to spend twenty friggin’ dollars (or $12 on Thursdays) to see the most famous pre-human remains on the planet!

    But alas, I am in New Zealand, so the cost would be closer to USD$1000.

    As for those who can’t see the difference between a DVD of Lucy and actually looking at her remains in person, I can only say that obviously you have no reason to go to a museum anyway, since I assure you that everything that’s there can be seen on DVD. However, Real life experience simply cannot be compared to a recording.

  169. #169 John Morales
    January 27, 2009

    Real life experience simply cannot be compared to a recording.

    Not yet, anyway.
    I have hopes.

  170. #170 Jud
    January 27, 2009

    All I can find out is that it will be at the Field Museum in Chicago from November 2009 through April 2010….

    From what I’ve read, the Field has pulled out of its agreement to exhibit Lucy; the Smithsonian and the NY Museum of Natural History have both refused to take the exhibit on the grounds that the bones are too fragile, and ought to be preserved for scientific study.

    Ouch. That leaves Philly, Baltimore and perhaps Montreal in my general vicinity, but it sounds like the exhibit is quite expensive. What I’ve read gives me the impression that there are 11 or so “slots” available for museums around the U.S. that want to host Lucy. Houston and Seattle make 2, and other facilities don’t seem to be falling over themselves to be one of the remaining 9.

    I’d love to see these, or casts if that’s what makes it possible for me to see a well-done exhibition. (Casts are good enough for many scientists to study, and that’s good enough for me. Still, there is, however irrational, some emotion attached to seeing the very bones themselves, so if it happens that a museum in my vicinity takes the exhibition, I’m definitely there.)

  171. #171 Sven DiMilo
    January 27, 2009

    Kennewick man is thought by some to be of Asian origin, related to the Ainu of Japan.

    Fixed that for you; conjecture should not be stated as fact.
    Question: do any serious scientists still use the term “Mongoloid”?

  172. #172 Liberal Atheist
    January 27, 2009

    I would totally go if I were on the right continent to begin with… Sounds interesting.

  173. #173 Dark Matter
    January 27, 2009

    Ugh, the Field Museum seriously pulled out? I live in Indiana and that would be the best chance I ever had to see Lucy…Maybe I’ll have to make a pilgrimage to Seattle.

  174. #174 dreamstretch
    January 27, 2009

    Bring her to London, please. There certainly wouldn’t be any shortage of visitors if she were in the Natural History Museum.

  175. #175 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    Sven DeMilo@171,

    Kennewick man is thought by some to be
    of Asian origin, related to the Ainu of Japan.

    Fixed that for you; conjecture should not be
    stated as fact. Question: do any serious scientists
    still use the term "Mongoloid"?

    "Thought" does have the suggestion of "conjecture" and since an alternative
    hypothesis was mentioned, "by some" probably was covered as well.   I
    don’t know if "Mongoloid"  is "still used", but as of November, 2008, there
    is a use in pubmed.  Pubmed returned 1069 hits.  If you try it
    yourself, be sure to put Mongoloid in quotes, otherwise the software
    automatically picks up cognates, and the hit count will be inflated.  The
    most recent references appear to be from Asia, where perhaps they fail to
    acknowledge the negative connotations associated with it.

  176. #176 Libbie
    January 27, 2009

    Question: do any serious scientists still use the term “Mongoloid”?

    Yes, when describing skeletal structure.

  177. #177 Lance
    January 27, 2009

    David Marjanovic, OM

    Nope. It’s the real bone, with all cavities filled in by other minerals. The bone material itself is usually not replaced, though it’s sometimes recrystallized.

    After 3.5 million years the material you “see” is the same shape as the original bone but is comprised mostly of minerals. Most of the original biological material has crystallized, washed away or been eaten by some other organism. In any event not very much of it is “bone”.

    Don’t get me wrong when I saw Lucy’s “bones” I got a little misty eyed and weak in the knees, even the time I was (unknowingly) looking at the replicas.

    I was just making the point that the “replicas” are made from molds of the actual fossils which are in a way “molded” from the original bones. So a replica isn’t such a poor substitute for the fossilized bones.

    P.S.

    What does OM stand for? I searched the intertubes and found, among others; Orange Monkey, Oh Merde!, On Mushrooms, Old Monk, Officiating Minister.

    Any of these apply?

  178. #178 Sven DiMilo
    January 27, 2009

    Huh. Thanks.

  179. #179 Sven DiMilo
    January 27, 2009

    Hi Lance. Bit of advice: always a mistake to argue with Marjanovi?, especially about fossils. For “OM” click the “commenters” tab at the top of the page.
    David’s point is that even living bone is composed mostly of “minerals.” Osteocytes (rather few and far between anyway) die and disappear, collagen is eaten or denatured, but the calcium phosphate (hydroxyapatite) that makes up most of the bone mass is generaly not going anywhere. I believe him.

  180. #180 Africangenesis
    January 27, 2009

    FYI,

    The use of “Mongoloid” appears several different kind of studies. These are the titles for the first 20 entries in PubMed, sorted by date:

    1: [Influence of different constitution of races on application of acupuncture therapy]
    2: Why did the frequency of palatine torus increase in the ancient Anatolian populations?
    3: A study of distribution of ABO and Rh (D) blood groups amongst Sikkimese.
    4: [Morphometric characteristics and typology of the human orbit]
    5: [Study of ethno-racial and sexual specificity of hard palate mucosa for person identification]
    6: [Origin of the Mongoloid component in the mitochondrial gene pool of Slavs]
    7: Diffuse retinal pigment epitheliopathy among the inhabitants of Brahmaputra Valley of India.
    8: Epidemiology of hepatitis B virus infection among the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India.
    9: Re: A transverse ligament located anterosuperiorly in the lower orbital fat space restricts lower eyelid retraction in the Mongoloid eye.
    10: The peopling of America: craniofacial shape variation on a continental scale and its interpretation from an interdisciplinary view.
    11: Interactions between SNP alleles at multiple loci contribute to skin color differences between caucasoid and mongoloid subjects.
    12: [Association of fatty acid composition of blood serum with bile lipid composition in cholelithiasis patients]
    13: Meta-analysis of the association between HLA-DRB1 allele and rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility in Asian populations.
    14: Accumulation of explosives in hair–part II: factors affecting sorption.
    15: Genetic polymorphism of CYP2C19 in Maharashtrian population.
    16: Specific genetic characteristics in patients with familial moyamoya disease.
    17: Characterization of hair lipid images by argon sputter etching-scanning electron microscopy.
    18: A transverse ligament located anterosuperiorly in the lower orbital fat space restricts lower eyelid retraction in the Mongoloid eye.
    19: [Gene pool differences between northern and southern Altaians inferred from the data on Y-chromosomal haplogroups]
    20: Down syndrome in one of non-identical Nigerian twins: a case report.

  181. #181 Sarah
    January 27, 2009

    Have to say, I’m in the Seattle area and this is the first I’ve heard of it. They must be broadcasting it really poorly. I’ll be there this weekend now!!

  182. #182 C. M. Baxter
    January 27, 2009

    Rob at #164:

    Have you ever been to a zoo, a concert or a sports event? If a famous person you happened to admire were in town giving lectures, would you attend? If so, why?

  183. #183 Lance
    January 27, 2009

    Thanks for the advice Sven, but I really wasn’t arguing with Marjanovic other than perhaps about semantics.

    Hold the ?bone? of a recently deceased animal and then hold a 3 million year old fossilized bone and see how much it resembles the former.

    Thanks for the tip about the OM after his name. Being an occasional visitor to Pharyngula I knew about the “Mollie” but didn’t know that it had been elevated to a title

  184. #184 rob
    January 27, 2009

    Have you ever been to a zoo, a concert or a sports event?

    Obviously, yes. And, when doing so, I have questioned the rationality of it many times. Especially at a concert sitting so far away I can’t be sure they aren’t just look-alikes, playing a recording.

    Likewise, I wouldn’t be able to tell if Lucy’s bone fragments are the real thing or a simple forgery (other than the fact that I trust the museum). So the main point of going is just the “wow I saw the real thing” effect, which could be a placebo.

    My main point though, was making a comparison. We have lots of irrational things we do like this, and I think considering certain items “sacred” or having “sentimental value” is a very similar phenomenon. That’s why people get upset if you take their grandmothers ashes and flush them down the toilet (geez, it’s just freaking ashes, get over it already!), or do something with a cracker they find offensive.

  185. #185 Dave Godfrey
    January 27, 2009

    Lance.

    They can feel surprisingly similar. The main difference I notice is weight because of the minerals that have crystallised in the gaps.

    When you do a thin section they often look identical. Lucy wasn’t found as a mould of the original bones. As Sven says the calcium phosphate doesn’t necessarily go anywhere. Minerals fill the gaps where the bone wasn’t. And when the hydroxyapatite has been replaced its slowly enough that it often preserves the microstructure previously present.

  186. #186 C. M. Baxter
    January 27, 2009

    Rob:
    Yeah, one reason I traveled across country (see my comment @#149) was to see the real thing but I don?t think what I felt, looking at Lucy, was any sort of placebo effect. For me, it was a kind of personal, celebratory event celebrating not only Lucy but myself as well, my own rationality and the values I?ve chosen to live by. My visit with Lucy had nothing to do with edification, it was purely symbolic. I think that times of celebration such as this helps keep one?s life from becoming one long, boring, unpunctuated, unparagraphed narrative, similar to some of the mail PZ receives. Since my visit, I?ve found that thinking about Lucy during times of worry or frustration lends me comfort in much the way William Wordsworth?s daffodils comforted him:

    ?For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.? [From WW?s poem, I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud.]

  187. #187 Darren Strenge
    January 27, 2009

    I went and saw Lucy soon after she came to Seattle. My wife and I both thought it was the coolest thing. I can’t believe more people from our area aren’t going to see it. We may be pretty liberal over here but I guess science isn’t as big a deal as it should be in the Puget Sound. Suprising considering the presence of Boeing, Microsoft, and numerous biotech companies…

  188. #188 C. M. Baxter
    January 27, 2009

    Rob:
    Yeah, one reason I traveled across country (see my comment @#149) was to see the real thing but I don?t think what I felt, looking at Lucy, was any sort of placebo effect. For me, it was a kind of personal, celebratory event celebrating not only Lucy but myself as well, my own rationality and the values I?ve chosen to live by. My visit with Lucy had nothing to do with edification, it was purely symbolic. I think that times of celebration such as this helps keep one?s life from becoming one long, boring, unpunctuated, unparagraphed narrative, similar to some of the mail PZ receives. Since my visit, I?ve found that thinking about Lucy during times of worry or frustration lends me comfort in much the way William Wordsworth?s daffodils comforted him:

    ?For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.? [From WW?s poem, I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud.]

  189. #189 C. M. Baxter
    January 27, 2009

    Oops! Double post. I wasen’t really THAT proud of it!

  190. #190 ©?®?§
    January 27, 2009

    As a Seattle resident, I suspect it is under-publicized; having learned of the exhibit (just!) this week, I immediately made plans to take my girlfriend and my nephew.

  191. #191 onshay
    January 27, 2009

    Here’s one Seattleite that went and saw it – and I took 5 people.

    The exhibit is wonderful and contains as much (maybe more) information on the region in which Lucy was found (Ethiopia) as it does about human evolution itself.

    The marketing for the Lucy exhibit is little more than a few signs by the Seattle Center and some bus banners so that may be the issue…

  192. #192 CR
    January 27, 2009

    I’m just south of Seattle and this blog is the first I’ve heard of it. (Thanks for the heads up! I’ll be dragging the hubby to it…or he’ll be dragging me. There’ll be dragging!)

    Low turnout could also be because we’ve had an atypically harsh winter (yeah, yeah, to anyone not in a marine climate, this isn’t even noticeable! ;) ) Between the snow and the floods, I don’t think any of us are really emerging from our cocoons just yet.

  193. #193 thalarctos
    January 28, 2009

    Low turnout could also be because we’ve had an atypically harsh winter (yeah, yeah, to anyone not in a marine climate, this isn’t even noticeable! ;) ) Between the snow and the floods, I don’t think any of us are really emerging from our cocoons just yet.

    Yeah, I was supposed to start teaching anatomy & physiology on Jan 29, and one of the first things I was planning to do was organize a field trip for my adult learners to the exhibit for an applied anatomy lesson, and take them out to an Ethiopian restaurant afterwards, to make their driving up from Tacoma even more worth the effort.

    Now, between the weather and the economy, the class has been delayed until March 12, so I won’t even have met my students in time for arranging it before Lucy has left. :(

    Maybe I can get something together on one of the local mailing lists instead…

  194. #194 Ross
    January 28, 2009

    Seattlite here. And yes, I’ve seen it. Adult tickets are *pricey* – $20.75 each. Look at the economic context of Seattle. WaMu is planning major layoffs, 5,000 jobs just announced on the chopping block at Microsoft (with more to be announced later), and a whopping 10,000 jobs to go at Boeing. It’s no surprise that people are reluctant to shell out $60+ for an afternoon at the museum with the family when a $5 disney DVD could do the same thing. This is happening to museums all over the country right now, not just the Pacific Science Center.

  195. #195 Gordon
    January 28, 2009

    I’d love to go and hopefully will. But almost $100 for a family of four?!? That’s asking a lot.

  196. #196 tim
    January 29, 2009

    If there are any Seattleites still reading this thread, Pacific Science Center is now offering a 2-for-1 coupon to see Lucy: http://www.pacsci.org/lucycoupon/
    (it’s only on weekdays between 1-3:30, but hey 2 for 1!)

  197. #197 thalarctos
    February 7, 2009

    I got thrown out of the Lucy exhibit yesterday.

    Not, as you might reasonably think, for misbehaving, but simply because we ran out of time. There was too much there to see in the three hours we’d budgeted before closing time. They came around and herded us out before I was finished seeing everything I wanted to.

    I may be eating beans and rice for the next two months due to the ticket price, but I am so going back!

    I could thread-jack with tons of stories about what I saw, but instead, I’ll just refer to one story I already told here, and post on my own blog about it later.

    If there are any Seattleites still reading this thread, Pacific Science Center is now offering a 2-for-1 coupon to see Lucy: http://www.pacsci.org/lucycoupon/
    (it’s only on weekdays between 1-3:30, but hey 2 for 1!)

    Thanks, Tim. And I will personally up the ante on that (probably botched the metaphor, like I always do when I invoke poker, but w/e).

    My beginning anatomy class has been pushed back to mid-March, due to the economy :P, so I won’t have even met my students before she leaves. However, I’ll put the word out on the local massage-practitioner mailing lists that I’ll offer a couple of sessions of an evolutionary anatomy continuing education class, focusing on human and other primate bones. The sessions will be free to anyone who brings their ticket receipt from the Lucy exhibit.

    That ought to get at least a couple of takers through the door to see Lucy, if they know they can also use it to meet part of their state licensing CE requirements for no extra cost.

  198. #198 thalarctos
    February 7, 2009

    I could thread-jack with tons of stories about what I saw, but instead, I’ll just refer to one story I already told here, and post on my own blog about it later.

    should be: here.

    HTML: I DOIN IT RONG

  199. #199 pixelfish
    February 7, 2009

    We just got back from seeing Lucy and they did a pretty good job in setting up the overall exhibit. You also get to see how the Ethiopian culture has changed over the last three millenia, which provides some interesting context the paleoathropology/archaeology that gave us Lucy.

    Lucy is at the end of the exhibit, framed in the glowing semicircle of a really interesting mural showing artistic representations of the known forms that bracket her. At both ends of the mural, mirrors are positioned, so that you can compare yourself first to the early forms and then finally to the later ones, placing yourself at the end of the circle. (Of course, evolution will go on, but it’s nice to see the subtle placement of US in the chain.) A model of Lucy’s bones pinned into upright position stand in front of a third mirror, and if you are tall enough, you could position yourself just behind her bones and see yourself on the other side. Opposite is a forensic reproduction of what Lucy might have looked like. Lucy herself lies in a central glass chamber, her bones arranged under the glass. I couldn’t help looking at her bones and thinking of the final paragraphs from Bujold’s Ethan of Athos:

    Ethan paused in front of the bathroom mirror before turning out the light, and studied his own face. He thought of Elli Quinn, and EQ-1. In a woman, one saw not charts and graphs and numbers, but the genes of one’s own children personified and made flesh. So every ovarian culture on Athose cast a woman’s shadow, unacknowledge, ineradicably there.

    And what had she been like, Dr. Cynthia Jane Baruch, 200 years dead now, and how much had she secretly shaped Athos, all unbeknownst to the founding fathers who had hired her to create their ovarian cultures? She who cared enough to put herself in them? The very bones of Athos were molded to her pattern. His bones.

    “Salute, Mother,” Ethan whispered, and turned away to bed. Tomorrow began the new world, and the work thereof.

    I was pleased to note that the exhibit was quite crowded today, and many of the attendees were children, interacting with the various portions of the show.

    As noted, they show a lot of comparison between casts of chimpanzees, humans, and Australopithecus afarensis, so you can see how Lucy is more closely related as our ancestress and not a monkey at all. (Despite the oh-so-erudite words of Starbuck up at #33.) There are comparative exhibits showing the angle of the knee’s weight-bearing joint, and the comparison of brain sizes to pelvis size (birth canal exit being the issue), cranial capacity, and the hole in skull (I forget the name) where the spine connects. (Both homo sapiens and Australopithecus afarensis have holes at the bottom of the skull, whereas chimpanzees have it at the back. Before you walk up to Lucy, there is an array of skulls for the known forms preceding her, passing through her, and all the way up to the earliest homo sapiense. A family tree shows the forms that were known in 1974–the year of her discovery (about six or seven)–and the known forms now (more than twice as many) and how they likely meet on the evolutionary family tree.

    My boyfriend and I quite enjoyed the exhibit and felt a little stir of family pride, so to speak.

  200. #200 Paguroidea
    February 7, 2009

    Thanks a lot for the update, Pixelfish! I’m glad you filled us in on the details. Now I just wish I lived near Seattle so I could go.

  201. #201 LibertyNew
    February 12, 2009

    I just found out about the exhibit in Seattle, I’ll be paying a visit in the next week or so.

  202. #202 Dirk Van Tuerenhout
    February 17, 2009

    The exhibit has two parts: a historic section and a prehistoric section. The latter part tends to get more press, because the original Lucy skeleton is on display.
    For those interested in learning more about the originial Houston set up, please go to: http://www.lucyexhibition.com/about-the-exhibit.aspx

  203. #203 solidox
    March 5, 2009

    Is it really so hard to figure out that people aren’t going because it’s just too expensive?

  204. #204 hery
    January 25, 2010

    You’ll have plenty of opportunity to “poke fun” when you are among the damned yourself