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Fossil Hunting Expeditions take months of careful planning

Planning a fossil hunting expedition is no small task. After hours of research in the library spent finding a likely site, every day must be planned in detail. Flights must be booked, helicopters hired, meals planned, and supplies packed. Omissions or mistakes can cost the crew valuable time and money.

Time is limited in the field, so when you find a fossil that looks interesting, you pack it up for further work in the lab

When in the field, the focus shifts to finding and collecting fossils. First, the crew hikes from outcrop to outcrop, looking for fossils weathering out from the rock. When a high concentration of fossils is found, they must locate the layer from which the fossils are eroding. Then, they dig down to expose as much of that layer as possible. Finally, with small tools, they begin to pick away at the rock to isolate interesting specimens. Separating the fossils from the rock is a painstaking, delicate job, and because time is limited in the field, anything that looks interesting gets encased in plaster and shipped back to the lab where professional fossil preparators can do a more careful job of extracting it from the rock.

Meet the fossil preparators