“THANKS and THANKS and ever THANKS.” If that sounds a little repetitious, blame it on Shakespeare.

Seldom, if ever in my lifetime, have I had such an overwhelming honor bestowed upon me. Maybe it's good it is happening this late in life—I am more seasoned in many ways to cope with such things now.

When Peter Ward was at the University of California-Davis he told me he had a candidate for an advanced degree who hadn't much field experience—and would I show him around the Upper Cretaceous on the East Side of the Sacramento Valley? It was a chance to...

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