For a short time in grade school, Kevin Boyce lived within two blocks of the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, a place where ice age mammal fossils had been discovered. Above his bed hung a poster of the Yale Peabody Museum’s famous Age of Reptiles mural. But it wasn’t a boyhood fascination with prehistoric life that influenced his interest in paleontology, but rather the medieval literary world of Chaucer that Boyce discovered in college.
“I didn’t think twice about fossils between the ages of 7 and 20,” said Boyce, associate professor in geophysical sciences. Even during his undergraduate studies in literature and biology at the California Institute of Technology in the early 1990s, the deep history of life on Earth was far from his mind. (more…)