GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 229-6
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM


ANDERSON, Julia N., Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 2227 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley, CA 94720, MCKNIGHT, Kellyn G, Earth and Enviromental Sciences, University of Michigan, 1100 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, TRAN, Tut, National Park Service, Dinosaur National Monument, 11625 East 1500 South, Jensen, UT 84035 and HUNT-FOSTER, ReBecca, National Park Service, Dinosaur National Monument, 11625 East 1500 South, PO Box 128, Jensen, UT 84035

The paleontological collections at Dinosaur National Monument (DINO) have been subject to deterioration as a result of poor storage facilities, non-archival materials, rodent infestations, and uncontrolled climate conditions. DINO’s 2019 paleontology internship provided a temporary solution to these issues by rehousing fossils in plaster jackets and foam cradles in an effort to ensure the longevity of the specimens. An additional component of the internship was a weekly public demonstration to highlight the importance of protecting collections. However, this initiative is a short-term solution, and a long-term plan is necessary to secure park resources. Even so, the work undertaken through this internship laid the foundations for future work in DINO’s collections.

The Quarry Exhibit Hall (QEH) formerly included the monument’s collections facility. After the 2006 condemnation of this building, DINO was forced to rapidly co-opt other spaces, such as storage sheds, to hold paleontological resources. These locations were not intended for specimen storage, and therefore lack proper insulation to protect the fossils from environmental hazards, such as rainwater and temperature fluctuations. Likewise, specimens were housed in outdated, disintegrating boxes, which do not properly secure fossils. The goal of rehousing specimens is to provide a stable, archival environment that simultaneously supports their weight, prevents them from moving, and allows for quick and easy identification by researchers.

Paleontology interns at the monument have utilized new methods in archival cradle making to stabilize specimens. Smaller items were rehoused in foam cavity cradles, made using a combination of ¼-inch polyethylene foam sheets, Tyvek, B-72 adhesive, and corrugated polypropylene; larger specimens were rehoused in plaster half-jackets, using Hydrocal, polyethylene foam blocks, felt, and fiberglass. The future of public and scientific engagement in paleontology at Dinosaur National Monument will greatly benefit from the protection, preservation, and ultimate rehousing of its paleontological resources.

  • Shelf Life_ Updating and Preserving Collections at Dinosaur National Monument.pdf (11.0 MB)