Meet the ‘Mediators’ Who Connect Scientists and the Public

Fossil Preparators Are a Panacea to a Closed-Off Field—And Their Work Offers a New Model for Research

How do colossal Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops fossils get from the ground to the natural history museum? And could that process—which involves not just paleontologists but a largely uncredited group of staff and volunteer fossil preparators—have the power to make science more transparent, trusted, inclusive, and effective? These are two of the questions tackled by University of Virginia social scientist Caitlin Donahue Wylie at yesterday’s Zócalo/Issues in Science and Technology event, titled “Can Dinosaur Fossils Make Science More Accessible?”

“We all know how incredible the fossils are, but the work behind …