2009 Preparators' Grant Recipient
Jason Bourque is the senior fossil preparator for the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) in Gainesville, Florida. Jason predominantly prepares fossils from localities in Florida, Wyoming, Montana, Panama and Colombia. He specializes in formic acid preparation on microscopic vertebrate fossils embedded in Paleocene and Eocene freshwater limestones.
Jason received a Bachelor's of Fine Arts from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1999, where he studied as a sculptor and painter. As an undergraduate, he rendered prehistoric and extant vertebrate life and studied as a herpetologist. During this time he conducted field research on extant freshwater turtles and amphibians including spotted turtles (Clemmys guttata), bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii), and wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) for the Nature Conservancy and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He also constructed interactive natural history exhibits for small museums and nature centers throughout New England. He moved to Florida in 2001 to construct public exhibits at the FLMNH including the Hall of Florida Fossils.
In 2008, Jason received a Master's in Museum Studies with a minor in Zoology from the University of Florida, where he studied North and South American paleoherpetology. His current research largely entails fossil freshwater turtles including the evolution and distribution of mud and musk turtles (family Kinosternidae) and their relatives. He contributed to the discovery and description of the behemoth snake Titanoboa, recently published in the journal Nature. He illustrated a reconstruction of the giant snake that received international recognition, including printings in The New York Times, cover of USA Today and British tabloid The Sun. Jason's artwork also appeared on the cover of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology Volume 29, Issue 1.
Photo courtesy of Jason Bourque.