Fossils, fact and fiction

The title of this post is taken directly from a discussion given at the Royal Society on Monday that I was lucky enough to attend. Even better you can watch the recording of this event (and many others) directly from their website, so mosey on over and take a look. The discussion was between Dr Richard Fortey FRS (of ‘Trilobite!’ and ‘Life – an unauthorised biography’ fame) covering fossils and Tracy Chevalier (who wrote the ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ and recently and pertinently ‘Remarkable Creatures’ on the life of Mary Anning), and the whole thing was chaired by Dr Alice Roberts.

The discussion centers around different kinds of truths in the sense that a scientific truth from the perspective of a researcher might differ from that of an author (like Chevalier) who uses know historical documents as the basis for works of fiction. It combines history, science, palaeontology and bit of philosophical musings on science communication and well worth an hour of anyone’s time with an interest in fossils.

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