Fossilized Pollen or Maybe Just Some Dust

TULSA, Oklahoma – Palynology, the study of contemporary and fossil palynomorphs, including pollen, spores, orbicules, dinocysts, acritarchs, chitinozoans and scolecodonts  (whatever the hell all those things are) has always been the red-headed stepchild of paleontology in the oil and gas industry.

Now, the World Organization of Petroleum Societies (WOOPS) sadly reports that the last two palynologists in captivity have died. No individuals or packs have been observed in the wild or at a university for decades.

Mr. Conehead D. Barbarean, WOOPS
Mr. Conehead D. Barbarean, WOOPS

Mr. Conehead D. Barbarean, president of WOOPS, said, “The species had been in decline for a long time but we thought they could be saved with a breeding program. However, it turned out the last two were both male. So, we are closing the books and declaring them extinct.” He went on to say that WOOPS extends its thanks to TexxonMogul for supporting the effort to preserve palynology as a viable profession within the petroleum industry.

When asked for a comment, Mr. Max Avarice, CEO of TexxonMogul, said,

“We kept them on as employees out of sheet nostalgia, kind of a window on a time long gone. Fortunately we had a broom closet in the basement that wasn’t being used so we had them stay out of sight down there. As long as they had a microscope, tweezers and a sink they were happy. Do I regret their passing? About as much as I regret having no more cable tool drillers left either. And now I have a place to put the company’s mental health counselor.”

Palynologist Doing Something Sciency
Palynologist Doing Something Sciency

An informal poll of oil companies revealed that all pollen and spore specimens were disposed of long ago, along with their cores and drill cuttings. Written palynology reports were also destroyed without first being microfilmed. Dr. Erlenmeyer Flask, head of research at ComicalPhilistine Oil Co., said, “It was all a bunch of bullshit anyway. They were so sloppy that cross-contamination of samples rendered most of their analyses more confusing than helpful. The regular bug pickers can at least tell you if you’re drilling Cenozoic or Mesozoic.”

Mr. Barbarean announced that a 30-second retrospective of palynology’s contributions to the oil and gas business will be presented during the opening session of the next annual WOOPS convention in Las Vegas. A narrator has not yet been announced, but Dr. Nigel Fruitloop of the British Museum in London has been suggested, since he claims to have once spotted a palynologist in the wild and lived to tell about it.


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