Paleontology Lab

The study of ancient life is based on the fossil record of the Earth and the methods used for such study are quite different from those of other geological disciplines with perhaps two exceptions. Paleontology begins in the field and the department vans provide access of our students to fossil collecting and other field activities, and those activities provide the materials for hands-on, specimen-based student research and learning throughout the major. For systematic and paleoecologic comparisons, the Paleontology Laboratory maintains a curated collection of approximately 60,000 specimens with Ordovician, Devonian and Cenozoic marine invertebrate emphases. Additional bulk collections provide opportunity for student research. The lab is equipped with a micro-airbrasive unit for preparation of delicate specimens as well as a wide range of rotary and percussion type cleaning tools and with standard sectioning and polishing tools. Light microscopes and an ISI SIIIA SEM are available in or near the lab for use with the microfossil collection which includes freshwater and marine specimens. Teaching collections of paleobotanical and vertebrate specimens have supported studies of fossil turtles and of Late Cretaceous plants. A digital photographic station for macrophotography and computerized microscope camera permit multi-level light photomicroscopy of up to 1000X. Library journal collections and departmental computing facilities complete the tools necessary for conducting a wide range of student research in Paleobiology. Products of previous studies, either as B.S. Honors Theses or as published works, can be accessed elsewhere on this site.