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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Logo The Department of Paleobiology - The Life of a Vertebrate Fossil
Level 5 - Store, Study, Display - What's Next?
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Former Department  of Paleobiology intern, Allison Beck (left) and Department Museum Specialist, Finnegan Marsh (right), at work in the fossil plant collection. Photo by Chip Clark.

Once the data about the fossil have been collected, paleontologists decide what they'll do with the specimen. One possibility is to store the specimen in the Museum's collections.

  • What's displayed in the Museum's fossil halls is less than one percent of all the fossils in the Museum's collections.
  • Some of the Museum's fossils are stored in a large, state-of-the-art facility in Maryland, where controlled temperatures and humidity helps preserve them. These conditions are needed for the long-term conservation of important or unique specimens.

This is Steve Jabo, Museum Specialist in Paleobiology, showing us some vertebrate fossils in our collections.

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