Hear this here…. Driving Southbound on I-95 at:
EXIT 70 I-95s: To SR 704 and Okeechobee Boulevard, in West Palm Beach, Florida
Do you know what is unique about swanky Palm Beach? Forget the Winter White House or the billionaire's Mansions or even that fabled shopping street, Worth Avenue. These are a dime a dozen in places like Newport, Rhode Island or Beverly Hills, California.
What is unique about Palm Beach is it boasts the most significant amateur paleontologist in the world. That's right. A rookie bone collector lives here. Amazing, right? I’m talking about a young man who personally dug up the best evidence of the day the world ended.
Robert DePalma holds the unpaid position of curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History.
In a very rich community, The Palm Beach Museum of Natural History is a struggling museum with little exhibition space. But that should change right?
That’s because in 2012 up in Bowman, North Dakota, DePalma heard that a private collector had stumbled upon an unusual site on a remote cattle ranch. DePalma went out into the prairie and dug around.
Young Robert DePalma unearthed a scene of frantic death. He found hundreds of animals who had all died at one time on one single day over 66 million years ago.
It is widely believed that the fish and reptiles expired en masse in a massive asteroid strike. But even more remarkable, the strike was about 3000 miles away. That’s roughly the same distance as New York to San Francisco. Or twice the drive from here to New York. Scary, huh?
66 Million years ago, an asteroid blasted into the sea near Mexico and obliterated all life within 1000 miles. Fires as hot as the sun incinerated forests. Tsunamis of molten water scoured distant shores. In the sky, clouds of poison gas asphyxiated life all around the globe. The dust created a nuclear winter so severe that 99 percent of life went extinct.
Ironically, the sequence of events provided an opportunity for insignificant burrowing animals to supplant the dinosaurs as the dominant species. These rat-like animals were our ancestors and they were primitive mammals.
Robert DePalma's discovery catalogues hundreds of creatures in a river mouth in Montana. It became a veritable slurry of dead. Here perished ancient river fish, dinosaurs and even a small mammal hiding from the onslaught in its burrow. It is a snapshot frozen in millennia. It records the moment a forced flood reached its zenith and left the detritus of the apocalypse — an apocalypse which had occurred moments earlier and thousands of miles away.
But does this affect us today? Indeed it does. Paleontologists are so frightened by what they learned of the impact’s destructive nature that many have become leading voices in calling for a system to neutralize threatening asteroids. “There’s no uncertainty to this statement: the Earth will be hit by an asteroid again, unless we deflect it,” one claims. “Even a three hundred meter rock would end world agriculture.”
Wow! Maybe you should EXIT right and drop by the museum to help support its budget and mission? Given this staggering discovery, would not an entire museum be worthy much less a large exhibit in a struggling municipal museum?
What with its great wealth, one would assume that Palm Beach County could create a world class exhibit around Robert DePalma’s world threatening discovery.
On the other hand, perhaps it is actually that the threat to their lifestyle scares the Super Rich; despite their great wealth, this too will pass. After all, Florida is best pitching Disney World than doom and destruction.
Okay, maybe that is too much to ask of the millionaires and billionaires. But perhaps by now, the rich folks shopping at Gucci and Louis Vuitton along Worth Avenue can at least offer Robert DePalma a paying job. Right?
#PalmBeach #RobertDePalma #AsteroidExtinction #WestPalmBeach