For several years, a European amateur science group was on the trail of dinosaur prints and last spring they made a significant discovery. Now authenticated by scientists at Lyon University and France's National Center for Scientific Research, the find is one of the largest and most well preserved prints from a sauropod estimated to be 150 million years old.

What's particularly exciting about this finding--in addition to the pure excitement from being able to directly witness the movements of our planet's once great giants--is that the possibility of important scientific progress coming from groups of amateurs and citizen scientists is so great. More organized citizen scientist groups must be developed around the world, and with this growth not only will scientific progress benefit, but the increased appreciation and understanding of science will begin to reach an even broader population.

For example, in the United States, the Society of Amateur Scientists is a national organization that will support the development of local and regional chapters, which is the absolute perfect opportunity for interested people to self-organize and generate some real science and generate some real science appreciation for the masses. Their current list of active local chapters is rather limited, but the time is ripe for growing local interest and regional society groups to become deeply involved in citizen science around the country.

In particular, this author is working on establishing a local chapter for the Central Illinois region, so if you are located in the area and would be interested in considering being a charter member of a new local chapter, please let me know.

Be inspired by the increasing number of successes of important results from citizen scientists and get more involved to see what wonderful science you may discover and experience.

""Unique" dinosaur footprints discovered in France" :: Reuters / AP :: October 6, 2009 :: [ READ ]