Fossil Daddy is a truly unique Instagram account, that uses humor with a splash of sex appeal to teach viewers about paleontology. His account originally started out with faceless images and videos about fossils. But he has since evolved into thirst traps of himself unloading some very stimulating science. The creator’s unique brand of wit and sex appeal quickly amassed a large following but rubbed others the wrong way.
This is why Fossil Daddy chooses to only use a pseudonym, for privacy concerns for his family. Not only are many creationists not happy that he is showing science that debunks their belief that fossils aren’t real. But many hardcore fundamentalists also take issue with people who are not heterosexual and white. And since Daddy describes himself as a “LGBTQA+ Fossil Hunter & Fossil Pokémon Champion.” He hits “all three of those triggers for these people, so they can’t help but lay on the hate for me,” he said. “But here they are seeing me and hearing me. So maybe I’m getting through to them just a little bit, and that scares them.”
His experiences with the environmental science community, both academically and recreationally, weren’t much better. Since both are “dominated by old white men, and they don’t do a whole lot of outreach to other groups who are marginalized,” said Daddy. “The sciences will die if new demographics don’t come in.” In regards to academia, a survey done in 2018 by the Paleontological Association showed that more than 85% of respondents were white.
So after earning a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees he tried out the recreational side of his passion. But he was soon kicked out of a rockhounding group without any kind of explanation. He eventually found out from an ex-member that he was booted for being “a little too gay on Facebook.” This just showed Daddy that there needed to be another option. A place for people that are being run off by more traditional means of exploration. “We exist. We’re going to take over the space someday,” he says. “We’re going to turn paleontology into gay-leontology.”
This is why in 2020 his socials went from being faceless to showing off his physique, as a means of catching people’s attention. That is also when the name Fossil Daddy was born. “I wanted it to be something paleontological,” he said. “But I also wanted it to be kind of cheeky. … I just figured if I put the two together, that would create the perfect niche audience that I was looking to cater to.”
But his success isn’t just due to being attractive. His streams are often littered with comments along the lines of “Came for the thirst, stayed for the science.” “I think people forget that they love to learn,” Daddy explains. “They go onto these platforms for an entirely different motive, but then they end up staying because they’re getting a surprise at the end of it. Nobody goes to Instagram expecting to learn about fossils.” There is also something to be said about true passion being contagious.
The creator has had a love for fossils ever since he was a pre-teen playing “Pokémon Red” and “Pokémon Blue.” In these games, you can catch an Omanyte, a snail-like being, by reviving its fossil. The design for the Omanyte is based on real-life ammonites, a now-extinct mollusk. But they are also one of the most common fossils in the world.
“When I made that connection, it snowballed into a childish obsession of paleontology that just never went away,” Daddy said about his first time playing the games at 12 years old. “It really inspired me to look [at] the real world around me.” Today he even sell “Daddy’s Balls,” which are playfully inspired by Pokeballs. Though instead of small creatures you have trained to fight, you get really cool fossils from his hunts.
We hope Fossil Daddy’s mission to educate and create a more inclusive space within the community continues to be a success. You can check out his website here.