Stephen Jay Gould: There are several answers to that. One is the five-year-old’s answer. You go to the Museum of Natural History and the dinosaurs are so awesome, in the literal meaning of that word. That word’s been corrupted by kiddie culture in America today to mean anything that’s a little bit bigger then average, but I mean awesome in the old sense of the term. So that’s a five-year-old’s answer, it’s a perfectly legitimate one. I guess the adult’s answer grows right out of that: the history of life over three-and-a-half billion years is one of the quintessentially fascinating intellectual questions. It’s more then an intellectual question, it relates to so many of the deep issues that are bound to fascinate any curious person, not all of which are answerable by science at all, with questions like, “Why are we here on this earth? What are we related to? How was the earth built? What has its history been through time? What’s been the pageant of change over this immense span of years that have elapsed since the beginning of life?” In that sense paleontology has a great advantage over many fields. It has that intrinsic fascination that will inspire any curious person with a strong interest.