I don't have much time to come up for air this week, it's been an incredibly busy and exciting meeting so far. But I wanted to take a moment to pass along this link, in which Ann Gibbons describes last night's plenary session for Science: "Anthropological Casting Call".
Paleoanthropologist John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, explained that he organized the 12 April share-and-tell session of published fossils at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists because many members have never even seen casts of important fossils, including Lucy, the 3.1-million-year-old member of Au. afarensis. As he lined up three skulls that showed changes in the evolution of the members of the human family from 1.8 million to 1.6 million years ago, Hawks said that seeing the fossils is the best way to learn about human evolution. "There are people in this association who are responsible for teaching evolution in the U.S. who have not even seen a cast of Lucy," he said.
What an incredible crowd we had -- at one point around 200 people, crowding around the biggest collection of fossil casts that has ever been assembled at the meetings. Here's a photo from my phone; I wish I had a wide-angle lens to get the entire crowd, as this is less than half of the room!