Paleontology/Field Techniques

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Paleontology is a job that involves outdoor and indoor work. This about the outdoor field techniques. Before you can dig up a fossil first you must locate the location on a geological map, a geological map is a map in which the sediment is given the time when it was first formed. Before you have moved to a promising dig site stop to make sure you have the permission to dig and prospect the land for fossils, remember all land belongs to someone, if it belongs to a family y ou must gain their permission to dig. If it is government owned land and you are in the U.S you will need to gain permission from the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management departments in the area. Not all fossils are under sediment, in fact most of them aren't. Most are broken or chipped fossils that the weather has eroded out of the sediment. Check the base of the terrain to see if any chips have rolled to the bottom of the terrain. You will need tools to excavate, transport, and study the fossils that you do find under sediment. some of these tools will be large like shovels and jackhammers to remove the rock surrounding the fossil, and some of them will be small e.g. picks and rock hammers or drills to remove smaller fragments of dirt and rock. Sometimes crumbling fossils need to be glued together in order not to break the fossil. The next step is to cover the excavated parts of the fossil with wet paper towels and layer plaster coated burlap strips. the paper towels protect the fossil from the plaster. The plaster then dries into a hard shell or jacket that protects the fossil from outside influences. Do this with the rest of the fossil until it is completly jacketed. The final step is to label the jacket with the date, time, and specimen. You then will transport the fossil back to the lab with a truck or helicopter if it is really heavy.