Farewell to Fossil Friday.... For Now.

Well folks, this will be the last Fossil Friday for a while. Next week we will be debuting a new feature in its place. This isn’t because we don’t love fossils—we do!—nor is it because we have grown tired of Dan Coleman and Dan Phelps’ Fossil Friday dominance. Rather, it is because we felt a change might be nice, at least for a little while.

So how do we wrap up Fossil Friday? I’m going to steal an idea from my fantastic undergraduate paleontology professor, Harold Andrews. My junior year, I took invertebrate paleontology and Andrews gave us an unusual last assignment—come up with a tribute of your own design to your favorite invertebrate. How great is that? The results were hilarious. Have you ever seen a grown man wriggle around in a sleeping bag spewing balloons in imitation of a startled sea cucumber? I have! It was in fact this display by Andrews that has forever endeared me to humble and unsuspecting sea cucumbers and their cut-spewing capabilities. There was also a poem my friend Lia wrote about barnacles and their proportionally-largest-in-the-animal-kingdom reproductive organs. Yeah, that happened.

I, on the other hand, took a less daring route, I’m afraid, opting to pen an ode to a...bryozoan. I know, I know! Not a cephalopod? Well, truth be told, my affection for cephalopods didn’t really bloom until graduate school.

So here’s my poem, dug up from the depths of my computer. I encourage each of you to come up with your own ode to your favorite fossil as a tribute to Fossil Friday. If you’re willing to share, please do in the comments.

Yours in fossil-loving,


Ode to a Bryozoan

Ctenostomata, Ctenostomata, how are you today?

Are you sad or worried because of you Harold had so little to say?

You are cut out for more than a thirty-second schpele

I could talk about you forever, over a three-hour meal!


So this ode is for you, yes that it is!

You deserve more attention gosh darn it! Gee whiz!

So consider this my humble attempt,

To sum up your wonder from larva to gent.


It was a Tuesday, a rainy cold morn,

Lia was talking about barnacle porn,

But I was drawing you, my dear sweet bryozoan,

Wishing it was to you, and not to class I was a goin’!


You are the child of the cool Ordovician,

Though you can’t grow individually, you’re still pretty bitchin’!

But add little zooids and grow, yes you will!

To and fro you flow, you’re far too cool to be still.


Do not fret, that you lack fossil hard parts,

What you a missing in hardness you make up for in smarts!

Though you leave but a trace, on a rock deep in the sea so low,

Please wear a smile, for you’re alive! Unlike those silly dinos!


So rejoice! Sweet little thing, please have no fear,

Though others may scoff, laugh or jeer.

You are amazing, so lovely, and pure,

My favorite you are, and that’s for sure!

Stephanie Keep
Short Bio

Stephanie Keep is the former Editor of Reports of the National Center for Science Education