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From Adam Hardy <>
Subject [FRIDAY] humour
Date Fri, 02 Apr 2004 16:58:55 GMT
Since it's Friday and I felt in need of a little light relief, I looked 
through my collection of old humour-spam and found this, which is so 
good I thought you listers would appreciate me sharing it here.

The story behind the letter below is that there is this nutball who
digs things out of his back yard and sends the stuff he finds to the
Smithsonian Institute, labelling them with scientific names,
insisting that they are actual archaeological finds. This guy really
exists and does this in his spare time!  This is the actual response
from the Smithsonian Institution. It is a masterful piece of
diplomacy. Bear this in mind next time you are trying to let someone
down gently.

Smithsonian Institute
207 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20078

Dear Sir:
Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labelled
"93211-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 "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 its
modern origin:

1. The material is moulded plastic.  Ancient hominid remains are
typically fossilised bone. 2. The cranial capacity of the specimen
is approximately 9 cubic centimetres, well below the threshold of
even the earliest identified proto-homonids. 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 its 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 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

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