Perhaps some readers of Opalescence are acquainted the paleontological world. Some may be amateur fossil hunters themselves or know of some. There are a lot of us. My own interest began (as is normal) when I was a boy (and first read The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek – [later edit: let me revise that: my interest in the prehistoric probably began before that, when I was 7 or 8 years old and listened to an LP record version of The Lost World]). Today, I have my own, secret, fossiling location here in Luisian country. I can’t tell you why it’s secret, but suffice to say that I’ve found some fantastic entire (whole) marine shells there. As much of California was once submerged beneath the waves, one can find specimens around if he/she knows where to look. Perhaps at some point I will photograph and upload some pictures of my own findings.
But again, most of us are only amateurs.
As with most things in life, though, where there are countless average fossil hunters, there are also a few real experts. Names that come to mind include Darrin Pagnac, Robert E. Reynolds, Richard H. Tedford, Michael O. Woodburne, Jere Lipps and Donald R. Prothero. These are the people whose many years of hard labors in the field make a book like Opalescence possible.*
Sawney David Webb is also one of those experts. Suffice to say that David’s curriculum vitae would be much too long to include here, but it includes “40 years was a curator and professor at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida”. Central to my book, it also includes his invention of the concept of the “Clarendonian Chronofauna”. David made many contributions to the science over the years. You can read about it in Bruce J. MacFadden’s commemoration piece S. David Webb- Paleontologist, Scholar, and Colleague
In the course of my research for the publication of my book, I contacted many experts. I found that, contrary to popular opinion, most of these people are approachable and friendly. David, though, is exceptional. He took the time to read my book, comment upon, and offer valuable suggestions for the improvement of Opalescence, which, to me, is comparable to Einstein reading the paper of a first year freshman. Where some may have worried about being seen as endorsing a science fiction book, David gave it an enthusiastic review. You can read it on my Reviews page.
David, your review and suggestions mean a lot to me. Thank you!
*While these are the big names that come to my mind, there are many others as well. All are deserving of thanks.