Originally Posted: January 16, 2019
The 25-foot-long swimming lizards sit alone in the dark. A few weeks ago, they drew thousands of visitors a day at the Washington, D.C., National Museum of Natural History, where they helped tell the story of shifting continents, evolution and life on Earth. Now the museum is closed, a casualty of the partial government shutdown.
“It just makes no sense,” said Louis Jacobs, a paleontologist at Southern Methodist University who spent months assembling the exhibit with a team of colleagues and students. The show was a career highlight for Jacobs, who retired from SMU last May, and a source of pride for his team and the school. It showcases 85-million-year-old fossils that Jacobs and colleagues unearthed along the coastal cliffs of West Africa starting in 2005. “The museum belongs to the people, and it’s the government’s responsibility to have it open.”
As the shutdown stretches into a fourth week, it is creating chaos for scientists across Dallas and Fort Worth. Hundreds who work for the federal government are missing paychecks, letting projects lapse and hunting for temp jobs to pay the bills. University researchers have been cut off from government data and locked out of federal research centers. Students applying to graduate schools sit in limbo as professors await funding decisions that will shape their futures. READ MORE