Palaeoiris

I’ve meant to highlight Palaeoiris here for some time now. They are a company that produces Pride-themed merchandise for paleontology enthusiasts, a niche which is surprisingly larger than you might expect. The company is run by four queer scientists who wanted to make fun products that celebrate both STEM fields and LGBTQ+ identities. Those in the market for such items may already be familiar with Palaeoiris’s flagship product, the “Queerlobites“, which I suspect are probably their best sellers.

How could you not love these adorable little roly polies?

The Palaeoiris line goes far beyond the Queerlobites, however, and includes designs depicting Foraminifera, Nautiluses, minerals, and more. All pins come in either gold or silver, with the color pattern of the Pride flag of your preference printed on them. Stickers and even mugs are available as well. I first bought a “Bi-lobite” for a non-binary, bisexual family member some time ago, and intended to buy something for myself to indicate my allyship, but found myself too indecisive to choose at the time.

I have to give props to the unboxing experience, here. The bright tissue paper and confetti strings made this so much fun to open up!

Not long afterwards, however, the Palaeoiris team completed a Kickstarter for their “Paleontology Hall of Fame Collection”, a set of (currently) four larger-sized pins that depict several famous fossil specimens: the strange, disc-shaped, Ediacaran animal Dickinsonia, the “first amphibian” Tiktaalik, the “first bird” Archaeopteryx, and Lucy the Australopithecus. Not only are these larger than their standard pins, but non-patterned variants are available for those who want to support the shop but would prefer not to have a Pride pattern for whatever reason.

I’m just a big Tiktaalik… by which I mean amphibious.

The fact that several of these are, appropriately enough, typically considered “transitional species”, and that I had begun to realize some latent queer proclivities in myself by this point, sealed the deal. I just had to get these for myself!

I got myself a golden Archaeopteryx and silver Tiktaalik & Dickinsonia all with the “Progress Pride” pattern (which differs from the “classic” Pride pattern by emphasizing the contributions of individuals in the trans community and communities of color), and an unpatterned gold Australopithecus skull. I of course had to get a Queerlobite (also in the “Progress Pride” pattern), as well! Of the five of them, I think the Archaeopteryx might be my favorite. It depicts the famous “Berlin Specimen” in particular, which is one of the most gorgeous fossils in the world in its own right, and it looks almost as good in gold and rainbows here!

I must confess I was least interested in Dickinsonia and Australopithecus before I even bought them, and while they’re lovely in person, I think I will pass them off to some friends in the Dallas Paleontological Society who I know will appreciate them more.

I highly recommend Palaeoiris products, and as a repeat customer, I can vouch for their quality and aesthetic appeal. I’m sure I’ll end up getting even more eventually! If you want some cool, colorful fossil pins that also benefit LGBTQ+ creators, check out their Etsy store, and see if you can find something that appeals to yourself!

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