This year’s worst science headline was an obituary

In September this year, palaeontologist Mike Getty sadly died whilst out in the field, a man whom a friend of mine described as the best field palaeontologist they had ever met. The Daily Mail website, surprisingly, had some rather well-researched information about his life which would have made for a good obituary, however, there was one big problem. They decided to go with a headline stating that Getty’s colleagues have denied that he died from exposure to ancient bacteria. They didn’t simply pull this headline out of their arse, which is where they got the whole idea about ancient bacteria in the first place, they also went through the effort of pestering his grieving friends and colleagues for soundbites to confirm their egregious speculation. I did a search back when this article first came to light and found nothing to suggest that this bizarre idea came from anywhere but the messed up minds of the Daily Mail staff. (Part of me does not want to link to this because I don’t want to increase traffic to the site, but here it is anyway.)

I don’t expect accuracy from the Daily Mail but I am shocked that they would post such bullshit when someone has died. Someone has perhaps watched too much Fortitude and studied very little palaeontology.

For a much better article written after his death, see here.

RIP Mike Getty


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