I’m a long-time fan of Meaghan Wetherell & Amy Atwater, who blogged for years at Mary Anning’s Revenge, where they discussed their specialties in mammalian fossils and other less-appreciated topics in paleontology (though some of you may remember them for period of time in which they ran a yearly series on interesting & bizarre animal… ummm, “body parts”). They don’t post as much there these days, as they have moved most of their activity onto social media instead (they have a split-custody arrangement: Amy uses the “Mary Anning’s Revenge” name on Instagram, while Meaghan uses “Mary’s Revenge” on Twitter), but I’ll always fondly remember their longer-form material.
Meaghan in particular has shifted most of her focus to her business venture: Geopetal Fabric! It’s bread-and-butter is t-shirts and other apparel, but customers can also find other products like stickers, mugs, and more! (For you crafty types, you can even purchase a few of the patterns as yards of fabric via Spoonflower.)
Incidentally, “geopetal” isn’t just a fancy shop name, by the way. It refers to an actual taphonomic phenomenon where fossil clams become partially filled with sediment, and partial geodes can form in the leftover void. The crystals form in the upper part of the shell, which can help scientists determine which way was “up” when the clam fossilized, even if geologic processes have since tilted or even flipped the strata containing them. They definitely happen to make a pretty logo as well, though!
As a paleonerd who was also raised with cowboy movies always on TV in the background as I was growing up, the Kansas Cretaceous Paisley t-shirt immediately caught my eye, and was the first thing I ever purchased from Geopetal Fabric. Depicting the Cretaceous marine life of the Western Interior Seaway, it’s sufficiently subtle yet nerdy to earn you street cred among both the dorks and the normies! I love the material used in this shirt as well. Having inherited every possible cold-adapted gene from my Minnesotan Swedish ancestors, the light-weight, breezy, jersey fabric is a life-saver in the Texas climate I currently must endure.
I’ve been wanting to do a Geopetal review ever since getting my first shirt, but I felt a little silly doing so having only bought one product, so I’ve been slowly adding to my collection so I can pretend that I’m an actual informed reviewer. To that end, I got an Ampyx trilobite scrunchie for my wife, and DiNopeASaurus shirt for my older son. My wife liked her gift, and the trilobites look nice enough circling around its ring, though I would be doing Meaghan a disservice if I didn’t mention the original design, which isn’t fully appreciable in scrunchie form. Ampyx were blind trilobites known for forming single-file lines in which they used their head spines to maintain contact and help each other get to wherever they were going, which Meaghan references in her spiral design. I’ve also made sure that in THIS household everybody knows what is and isn’t a dinosaur (hence one of my favorite kids’ books), making the phrase on my son’s shirt, “Only the real ones know”, perfectly fitting for him.
I have a soft spot for the strange, bug-like armored fish, Bothriolepis, and when I saw it offered as an option for the “Classic Dad Hat” baseball cap design, I decided I was pretty much obligated to buy it. I knew going before even purchasing it that this “one size fits most” cap was unlikely to fit me, as my bowling ball of a head tends to exceed the upper limit of typical hat sizes. Sure enough, while I could sorta force it onto my head on the widest strap setting, it never looked quite right. I always intended to donate it to the annual Dallas Paleontological Society Christmas auction, however, so it will still go to good use. (Speaking of, maybe I should suggest they make arrangements for a Geopetal booth at the next Fossilmania…)
Just to spread the love a little more, I decided to get a couple of mugs and stickers to donate to the auction as well. Both Meaghan and Amy have a passion for the obscure, prehistoric oreodont family, making this Christmas themed mug just about the most on-brand thing you could get from Geopetal Fabric, with a few “prominent” exceptions (foreshadowing…). “Marine Girls” was too good of a pun to pass up, and I’m sure this will be a popular auction item as well. As a stereotypically “punny” dad, I felt obligated to get the “That’s not what Dro-MOM-eryx said last night” design… but I’m too much of a chicken to actually use it and have to keep explaining the joke, so hopefully there’s somebody at the auction with far less shame than myself! As for the Basilosaurus, I just think they’re neat, and I like this cute lil guy. (I should note these are all available in some form or another on additional products as well.)
Of course it wouldn’t be a Wetherill project if there wasn’t some amusing genital-related material in the mix somewhere, and depending on how bold you are, there’s two possible directions you can go with it. (I am… not bold at all. These are the only products featured in this review that I have not purchased myself. While I haven’t summoned up the courage to actually buy any of these myself, neither can I avoid at least mentioning them!) The Priapulid & Treptichnus paisley patterns are the more subtle option, even more so than the Kansas ocean shirt, and indeed only takes on a more salacious side if you happen to share the common name with the people around you. It’s Penis Worms. They’re called Penis Worms. Yep.
If you’re looking for more than a name, and maybe a side of proxy body horror, look no further than the conodont underwear. Now, conodonts don’t necessarily have anything in particular to do with genital humor, and indeed there’s nothing untoward about this pattern when you get it on a shirt or some other product. It’s largely just a repeating pattern of conodont teeth, which tend to be found in huge numbers in the fossil record, and make for remarkably consistent index fossils for use in dating rock layers. If you get the underwear, however, a full-body reconstruction of a live conodont gets thrown into the mix… with its lamprey-like mouth guarding your nether regions. I can see the humor in it, but this may understandably remain a more niche item!
These are just a small selection of the various patterns and products available from Geopetal Fabric, and new patterns come out at a somewhat regular pace. The new Pachyderm Molar pattern caught my eye my eye in particular, and this may end up being my next purchase in the future. Whatever your interest, there’s something for just about everyone here, so give it a look and buy something for yourself or your loved ones!