Popular Press

BANG: New York Times publishes comprehensive and fair Sunday feature article on the Younger Dryas Event and the Comet Research Group


Reporters, too, are complicit. “The failure to properly report evidence for the Younger Dryas Impact will one day be understood as the worst intellectual crime in the history of science journalism,” writes the Comet Research Group member George Howard, who describes himself as an “avocational expert” and “noncredentialed scientist,” on his blog, “The Cosmic Tusk.”

As a science news reader my entire life, this is an extraordinary article in many ways. First, it mentions the Tusk lol. Second, it is very well-written and reflects an effort and skill in keeping with the subject matter. Third, the most important event in earth and human has now been well addressed in the New York Times.

William Topping, an archaeologist, was studying a site on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where ancient North Americans quarried the raw materials to make their stone tools, when he encountered a puzzle in the late 1990s: Anthropological and geological evidence indicated that the layer of soil containing the ancient artifacts dated to around 12,900 years ago, just before the start of the Younger Dryas. But radiocarbon dating suggested that the layer was only 2,900 years old. Topping sent an email about his problem to Richard Firestone, an expert on radioactive isotopes who was then working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Firestone, who told me that he has always had an interest in side projects, agreed to help.

And then? They called the Tusk.

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