Palaeontologists Are Suing President Trump For Shrinking Those National Monuments

Some of the world's most remarkable fossils have been found in the US, thanks to the hard work of palaeontologists all over the world who study there. This is the skull of Sue, the most complete T. rex fossil ever found. Geoffrey Fairchild/Wikimedia Commons; CC BY 2.0

Speaking to Scientific American, several palaeontologists have already been protesting that these monuments contain hundreds of thousands of valuable fossil discoveries, and that the rich tapestry of evolutionary biology they represent will be threatened by this decision.

“Scientifically important palaeontological resources motivated the creation of both monuments,” the SVP emphasize. Their shrinkage, then, is a clear affront to scientific principles and research, aspects that clearly were not up for discussion when the government’s decision was made.

The SVP takes pains to highlight that enormous sections of the geological record will be taken away from both the Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. Large sections of the Permian-Triassic boundary – which details the worst mass extinction of all time, and one that was driven by a dramatic type of climate change – will be unprotected, for example.

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This action can be added to a litany of moves by scientists that, when put together, represent an unprecedented form of resistance.

This year alone, whistleblowing scientists have spoken out in a deafening chorus. There have been marches on Washington in the name of academia, children are suing the government on climate change, and plenty of researchers are now running for Congress.

Science is under attack, but we can take solace in the fact that scientists are actually trying to do something about it.

Are you a scientist that could be affected by this – and future – decisions to shrink America’s national monuments? If so, get in touch here.

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