Skepticism and Science, Hand in Hand – with Donald Prothero

There are productive scientists.  There are  skeptics, busy debunking cryptozoologists and ufologists. There are prolific authors of textbooks, popular science books and scientific reviews.  There are professors with heavy class schedules.  All of these are classes of professional true and stout of heart, no doubt.  Paleontologist Donald Prothero, PhD. combines all of those careers and hobbies into one person.  We suspected that he must have cloned himself and delegates at least a portion of his work to his doppelganger, but he denies this is so.

Science and Skepticism Work Together to Examine Bold Claims of Weird Phenomena


Donald Prothero
Donald Prothero

Don Prothero began his science career at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. He is a paleontologist and geologist who has taught at Occidental College, CalTech, Columbia and other colleges throughout Southern California. He has written, and is in the process of writing, textbooks, articles and reviews. He has blogged and given many talks about skeptical topics and co-authored popular books on evolution, cryptozoology, UFO’sand other subjects. It was a great honor for us as podcasters to have to the opportunity to chat with Don for an hour or so.

The podcast covers quite a bit of ground (that’s a geology joke, sorry,) in which Prothero provides updates on books he is finishing, about to finish and a proposal for a new book in the works; his upcoming tour of England and Scotland where a group will visit landmarks as well as sites of geological and historical interest; the concept of periodicity of mass extinctions in earth’s geological history and the reasons that as an explanation for past mass extinctions on Earth it is no longer taken seriously.

The most interesting and fun part of this interview was the discussion of cryptozoology. The idea that there are undiscovered large mammals roaming the remote areas of the world doesn’t really pan out in an era with the ability to see such things from satellites in orbit and they just aren’t there. There really is so much left on Earth to discover, life that has never been cataloged scientifically. The problem is that the mysteries which remain are small, tiny, miscroscopic or deep underwater and perhaps not “sexy” enough for the ersatz deep woods Bigfoot hunters.

We hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed producing it!

Donald Prothero’s Home Page

Help support Ikonokast by purchasing Don’t books through these links!

Giants of the Lost World: Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Monsters of South America
Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs: Evolution, Extinction, and the Future of Our Planet
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters