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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Logo The Department of Paleobiology - The Life of a Vertebrate Fossil
Level 2 - Track Down Fossils - Tool Kit
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These are some of the field tools used to dig out a specimen.

Found something? You can't collect fossils empty-handed. You'll need:

  • Field notebook and pen, maybe even a laptop computer.
  • Camera.
  • Compass, topographic map.
  • Global Positioning System (GPS).
  • Ice pick, small knife, hammer, chisels, dental picks.
  • Toilet paper, plaster bandages.
  • Collecting bag (Ziplock bags are good!).

What do you think this equipment is used for?

  • Field notebook and laptop to record observations.
  • Camera to take images of the fossil in place.
  • Compass to help you with the topographic map and to note in which directions the fossils are lying.
  • Topographic map to locate your specimen so you can return to the site when you want to.
  • Global Positioning System to record latitude and longitude so you can compare your fossil's location with the location of others around the world.
  • Ice pick, small knife, hammer, and chisels to ease your fossil out of the limestone.
  • Toilet paper and plaster to wrap your fossil.
  • Collecting bag to collect small fossils.
  • GPS coordinates to record the original position of the fossil in the ground.

Here is Bob Purdy recording locality information.

Flash Version

Credits



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