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Preparator's Resources


Fossil prepartion is a vital part of research and education.  This is a resource for those concerned with the collection, preparation and conservation of vertebrate fossils and the care and management of collections.
preparator at work

Defining the Professional Vertebrate Fossil Preparator: Essential Competencies (PDF document)
Supported by the 2011 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Preparator’s Grant, this document was prepared by a group of professional prepartors to identify the competencies that are fundamental to the definition of the qualified professional preparator. 

PREPLIST: E-mail discussion list focusing on field and laboratory techniques in vertebrate paleontology.

This E-mail list is open for anyone who is interested in technical insights.  It is devoted to the exchange information, questions, opinions, etc. about preparation of vertebrate fossils. No subject, related to preparation is off-limits.
  Debate is encouraged for honing our knowledge and thinking skills, for truth-seeking, and for clarifying our perspectives. However, flames or personal attacks will not be tolerated.
  Commercial advertising on the list is not permitted.
To protect our list members, please realize that their posts to this list should not be considered public. If you wish to re-post a message to another forum (e.g., another mailing list, a usenet newsgroup, etc.), or to another person, you should get permission of the author. We also think that private E-mail carries a presumption of confidentiality; it is therefore a violation of trust to post it publicly without permission.

To join the preplist, visit: http://lists.fas.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/preplist 
  Follow the instructions and press the “Subscribe” button.

Preparators' Session at the annual meeting
The Preparators' Session at the annual meeting allows preparators to present new and innovative techniques, case studies, basic-technique reveiws, etc., ranging from field and lab techniques to specimen curation, molding, casting, exhibition and lab design. 

2014 Preparators' session presentation


Teaching fossil preparation without fossils 
              Adam Behlke, Yale University, New Haven, CT, United States of America

A better model for teaching paleontological laboratory methods in North America        
              Matthew Brown, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States of America

The renovation of the vertebrate preparation lab at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
              Steve Jabo, Peter Kroehler, and Michelle Pinsdorf, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, United States of America

Improving efficiency and output of indoor screen washing facilities
              Christopher Capobianco and Cory Redman, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, AB, Canada

A song of blasting and fire:Europasaurus holgeri
              Nils Knötschke and Marco Mastroianni, Dinosaurier-Park, Münchehagen, Germany; Oliver Wings, Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum, Hannover, Germany

Transfer prep of an Eocene bird from the Green River Formation, WY.
               Constance Van Beek, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL, United States of America

Excavation and preparation of fossils preserved in loose sand
              Erin Fitzgerald and Paul Sereno, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, United Sates of America

Barosaurus on the half shell: a two piece storage jacket design for large or fragile specimens
              Marilyn Fox, Alan Zdinak, and Vicki Yarborough,  Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven, CT, United States of America

Breaks, repairs, and essential competencies for vertebrate fossil preparators
              Amy Davidson, American Museum of Natural History, NY, NY, United States of America

Simple forensic methods for paleontological diagnosis
              Mike Eklund and Matthew Brown, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States of America

2014 Preparators' posters  [Abstracts]

[PDF] The Development of the Elgin Museum as a public and scientific resource
           Sue Beardmore and Janet Trythall, Elgin Museum, Elgin, United Kingdom


[PDF] 3-D scanning and production of accurate formatting support crades for fossils using CNC milling  technology (Computerized numerical control technique): A project with the Geiseltal Collection
Michael Stache, Alexander Hastings, and Meinolf Hellmund, Martin-Luther-Universität Hall-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale), Germany


[PDF] Repurposing the purposeful: Re-training fossil preparators in vertebrate mount dismantling and conservation

           Michelle Pinsdorf, Steve Jabo, Abby Telfer, Peter Kroehler, Amanda Millhouse, and Matthew Miller, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, United States of America

           [PDF] Supplemental document: FossiLab Deep Time Training- Specimen Housing Workshop

[PDF] Adhesives used in 2014 by the vertebrate paleontology preparation laboratory, American Museum of Natural History: An illustrated wall chart

           Suzann Goldberg and Amy Davidson, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, United States of America


How to pack fossils for loan
Alana Gishlick, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, United States of America; Marilyn Fox, Yale Peabody Museum, New Haven, CT, United States of America


[PDF] Scottish Mammoth tusks at National Museum Scotland
           Vicen Carrio, Geological Conservator/Preparator, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Silvia Da Rocha and Nicholas Fraser, National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom


[PDF] Multiple issues when preparing and preserving Late Miocene beaked whale (Gram FM) for research and exhibition: The difficult task of doing as little as possible

           Trine Sørensen, Museum of Southern Jutland, Gram, Denmark


The Sauropod that stopped the train

            Fátima Marcos-Fernandez, Ana Elvira, UNED, Madrid, Spain; Adrián Páramo, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain; Fernando Escaso, and Francisco Ortega, UNED, Madrid, Spain


Resolution and accuracy of 3-Dimensional models of specimens using photogrammetry and image stacking software

            Lauren English and Matthew Brown, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States of America


Improving collaboration between paleontologists and paleoartists: A case study, focused on the ceratopsid dinosaur Styracosaurus

            Fabio Manucci, A.P.P.I., Parma, Italy; Simone Maganuco, Museo di Storia Naturale di Milano, Milano, Italy; Lukas Panzan and Davide Bonadonna, A.P.P.I., Parma, Italy


A foundation for best practice in mitigation paleontology

            Paul Murphey, Rocky Mountain Paleo Solutions, Oceanside, CA, United States of America, 92056; Georgia Knauss, SWCA Environmental Consultants, Inc., Sheridan,WY, United States of America; Lanny Fisk, PaleoResource Consultants, Auburn, CA, United States of America; Thomas Demere, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, CA, United States of America; Robert Sullivan, California State University Fullerton Desert Symposium Convener, Fullerton, CA, United States of America; Kelli Trujillo, Uinta Paleontological Associates, Vernal, UT, United States of America; Justin Strauss, Palomar College, San Marcos, CA, United States of America


Consider visiting the SPNHC website to see what The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections is doing.


Past Preparators' Sessions

Materials & Methods FAQs

Technical Papers

Hix's Preparator's Grant

Preparators' PDFs