Curation & Storage

The intent of CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act) and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) concerning paleontological resources is to address and mitigate negative impacts to these priceless records of past life. Since most efforts to mitigate negative impacts result in the discovery of unearthed fossil remains, it is crucial that a scientific sampling of these remains be salvaged and kept for posterity.

The PaleoServices staff is well trained in the standard methods and techniques of fossil preparation and conservation. Whether it be paleontological resources salvaged by our own field paleontologists or resources recovered by other paleontologists, our laboratory staff is able to professionally process salvaged fossil remains. This work typically involves removal of enclosing sedimentary rock matrix to expose individual fossil specimens and reduce the bulk of the surrounding rock, stabilization of incomplete or fragile specimens, and repair of broken specimens.

Once fossils are prepared, their long-term care needs to be considered. After all, fossils stored in unlabeled boxes in a garage or warehouse are of little value to society and do not represent a viable sample of the paleontological resources lost during development of a project site. That is why the final step of professional conservation of recovered fossil collections is so important. PaleoServices staff has the experience and training to ensure that salvaged and prepared fossil specimens are catalogued, labeled, and stored in conditions that will ensure their availabily to students, professional scientists, and members of the public in perpetuity. In the end, the San Diego Natural History Museum assumes the considerable responsibility for the permanent care of the important regional paleontological resources.