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Science that isn't very scientific

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Sometimes, you just get it wrong.

Though I generally believe them, I've always been a bit perplexed at the way paleontologists seem to be able to take a single fossilized tooth and deduce everything about its owner short of last meal and favorite color. But while current theories about prehistoric life may be considered fairly reliable, 'facts' still remain subject to revision (witness the Brontosaurus), and some declarations about living and extinct creatures, thanks to honest mistakes or outright deception, have proven to be impressively wide of the mark. (At least, as far as we can tell for now.) Strange Science takes a look at over 2,000 years of best-guesswork and offers a casual collection of history's biggest misses, while demonstrating that science...isn't always an exact science.

The private-interest production of a man named Michon Scott (who states for the record on his home page that he is neither a professional scientist, educator nor historian), Strange Science could be called an online museum of sorts, but not one to be confused with the virtual presences of such institutions as the Smithsonian or Franklin Institute. Rather, think more along the lines of those roadside oddity emporiums, located on the outskirts of towns and along highways in the middle of nowhere. (To take advantage of the "Mommy, I have to go NOW!" trade.) Although frequently updated, the site's look and navigation style still show its early (in Internet terms) origins, and in a strange way, that low-tech, low-budget appearance seems only fitting for the curiosities inside.

After a brief introduction, Strange Science divides the bulk of its content into three categories, the highlight of which is the Goof Gallery, where the first order of business is a plea for compassion toward the mistaken scientists. After all, anyone who follows the good-for-you/bad-for-you shifts of various common foods will know that even today's researchers are frequently correcting themselves - and many of the creatures in the Gallery aren't really much more outlandish than a giraffe or duck-billed platypus.


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