Projects

Through PaleoServices, the Paleontology Department is regularly involved in construction projects throughout southern California and the Central Valley.

Typical mitigation programs include on-site monitoring of active excavations, discovery and recovery of exposed fossils, transportation of recovered specimens to a professional preparation/conservation laboratory, laboratory-based preparation and curation of recovered fossils, and permanent storage of curated fossils in our paleontological collections, where they are available for present and future generations of citizens, students, and professional scientists.

Residential and Commercial

Projects range from large residential developments involving mass grading of millions of cubic yards of sedimentary rock, to high-rise buildings with subterranean parking structures, to shopping malls, or individual buildings. More.

Transportation Infrastructure

PaleoServices has worked on a diversity of project involving the construction of new roadways and railways, or improvements to existing transportation infrastructure. More.

Energy and Utilities

Utility projects include construction of electrical transmission lines and substations, sewer and water pipelines, and landfills. PaleoServices also provides services for renewable energy project such as construction of solar and wind energy facilities, and during construction on oil and gas fields. More.

Resource Assessment

PaleoServices staff provide paleontological record searches, resource assessments, field surveys, mitigation plans, and related services for a diversity of projects.

What We’re Up To

Whales are magnificent creatures, full of mystery and wonder… and one mystery that has puzzled scientists, including our very own Curator of Paleontology Dr. Tom Demèrè, for decades is how and when the evolution from teeth to baleen occurred in of the ancestors of today’s filter-feeding whales (e.g., blue, fin, humpback, right, and gray whales). Read more.


In February 2017, the Museum received word that a manuscript written by staff paleontologists and outside colleagues about the discovery of mastodon fossils showing signs of human activity had been accepted for publication in the scientific journal Nature. As expected, the April 27 publication and announcement garnered widespread media coverage and stirred dialog within the scientific community. Some have been supportive and consider the hypothesis compelling and one that should not be ruled out. Others have dismissed it as questionable science or outlined why various interpretations of evidence are wrong.  Read more.


Finding dinosaur fossils is not something even veteran paleontologists experience every day. Our crews find fossils on about half of the job sites they work, but they simply don’t encounter many dinosaurs here in southern California. It’s not to say these beasts didn’t roam the area—surely they did—but the circumstances for the preservation of their remains were not ideal here. Read more.


The death of an animal as majestic as a whale is a sad event. However, as Museum scientists interested in documenting the natural biodiversity of our region--and in increasing our understanding of the evolutionary and ecological history of that biodiversity--we view such events as learning opportunities. Read more.  Read more.


It’s not every day that a new species of porpoise is introduced to the scientific world. However, that’s what happened when a team of paleontologists, including representatives from the San Diego Natural History Museum, discovered the fossil remains of a 3 million year old animal with a unique skull anatomy not represented in any living or fossil dolphin or porpoise.   Read more.