Southeastern Section - 65th Annual Meeting - 2016

Paper No. 3-2
Presentation Time: 8:25 AM


MCCALL, Linda J., North Carolina Fossil Club, PO Box 25276, Raleigh, NC 27611; University of Texas, Austin, 10100 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78758,

Survey data compiled from 15 different clubs/societies, representing over 3,000 individuals, as well as personal interviews with individual members indicate that the amateur/avocational paleontological community is an extremely vital and essential component of paleontological research and community education. Because of several sensationalized sales of rare specimens that went to private collections, as well as cases where non-professionals have damaged or destroyed primarily vertebrate collection sites, amateur/avocational paleontologists are often misunderstood or maligned by some in the professional paleontological community. Unfortunately, this allows the few to define the majority.

Many amateur/avocationals are active in public outreach, do research on the specimens they collect, and publish paleontological articles, peer-reviewed papers, and even books. They collaborate with professional paleontologists, volunteer their time in museums and collections, collect ethically in the field, and communicate good sites and finds to professionals. They frequently donate exceptional specimens, and award grants, scholarships, and donations to further the science of paleontology. Fossil clubs/societies, individual collectors, and even some commercial operations all contribute to advancing the science in ways that are still under-appreciated by some professional paleontologists. Educating both academic and amateur/avocational paleontologists about the role of each other’s communities would be beneficial to both, and help to advance the science of paleontology going forward.

  • SEGSA Amateur-Avocational Paleontologists.pdf (3.8 MB)