Thursday, February 14, 2008

Note to Eocene: You can fossilize, but you can't hide

At least not from the enthusiastic volunteers at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Almost every weekday, curator David Temple brings paleontology to life for the Museum's visitors. They can stand under the gaping jaws of T. rex or marvel and the sheer size of our Diplodocus - but only at David's table can visitors experience what it's like to actually find a fossil -and then try to figure out what it is.

Some days, he's got volunteers working on the sediments brought back from the Museum's dig site in Seymour. Recently, he's introduced a table full of Eocene-era sediments from the area around College Station, TX.

This week, we captured the experience on video. We hope you enjoy seeing these young minds at work as much as we do - and that you'll visit sometime soon to try this out for yourself.

In this video, David explains this particular project, where these fossils came from, how they ended up preserved so closely together, and how our volunteers are analyzing them.

Samantha, a young and very tenacious fossil hunter, shows us what she found. In the next video, David helps her identify it.

Todd is a patient, very thorough fossil hunter - here, he identifies several Eocene fossils for us, shows us how to use his tools, and lets us in on why he wants to be a paleontologist - despite David's vivid descriptions of what a hard, tedious job it can be sometimes.