virus: [Fwd: true story]

Kevin O'Connor (
Fri, 06 Dec 1996 10:37:04 -0800

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Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1996 13:22:04 -0800 (PST)
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From: "Douglas G. McDonald" <>
To: joke
Subject: true story
Content-Type: text

>>Ok, the story behind this... There's this nutball who digs things
>> out his back yard and sends the stuff he finds to the Smithsonian
>> Institute, labeling them with scientific names, insisting that they are
>> actual archeological finds. The really weird thing about these letters
>> that this guy really exists and does this in his spare time!
>> Anyway... here's a letter from the Smithsonian Institute from when he
>>sent them a Barbie doll head.
>> Paleoanthropology Division
>> Smithsonian Institute
>> 207 Pennsylvania Avenue
>> Washington, DC 20078
>> Dear Sir:
>> Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled
>> "211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post. Hominid skull."
>> We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination,
>> and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it
>> represents "conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in
>> Charleston County two million years ago." Rather, it appears that
>> what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety
>> one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be the
>> "Malibu Barbie". It is evident that you have given a great deal of
>> thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite
>> certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in
>> the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings.
>> However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes
>> of the specimen which might have tipped you off to it's modern
>> origin:
>> 1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains
>> are typically fossilized bone.
>> 2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9
>> cubic centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest
>> identified proto-hominids.
>> 3. The dentition pattern evident on the "skull" is more
>> consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the
>> "ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams" you speculate roamed the
>> wetlands during that time. This latter finding is certainly one
>> of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your
>> history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh
>> rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail,
>> let us say that:
>> A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll
>> that a dog has chewed on.
>> B. Clams don't have teeth.
>> It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your
>> request to have the specimen carbon dated. This is partially due
>> to the heavy load our lab must bear in it's normal operation, and
>> partly due to carbon dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of
>> recent geologic record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie
>> dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating is likely
>> to produce wildly inaccurate results. Sadly, we must also deny
>> your request that we approach the National Science Foundation's
>> Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your specimen
>> the scientific name "Australopithecus spiff-arino." Speaking
>> personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of
>> your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the
>> species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really sound
>> like it might be Latin.
>> However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this
>> fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a
>> hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example
>> of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so
>> effortlessly. You should know that our Director has reserved a
>> special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens
>> you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire
>> staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your
>> digs at the site you have discovered in your back yard. We
>> eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you
>> proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the
>> Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing
>> you expand on your theories surrounding the "trans-positating
>> fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix" that makes
>> the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently
>> discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm Sears
>> Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.
>> Yours in Science,
>> Harvey Rowe
>> Curator, Antiquities