dinoCollections and Casting

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First, I took the Basic Prep Lab certification and Basic Field certification and passed both. However, the field was much harder. Even though it was just which is rock and which is bone, I realized that it was much more difficult because bone from different sites are made from different minerals and, therefore, are not always black and smooth. Some was white and smooth.

(Also, I had yesterday off because I'm worked Friday and I will on Saturday again.) Today, I learned a bit of collections and molding & casting for the intermediate prep lab certification.

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For collections, the paper trail is the most important thing. After touring collections, we (me and two other volunteers) learned how to file and enter into the database the bone I had completed in the lab.

Collections is important because it tells the scientists and visiting scientists what fossils we have and any pathologies (problems with bone like bite marks) for later research.

In some cases, fossils get assigned the same number accidentally or two numbers or none at all. Others have little to no information and the files between the field-lab-collections are really the only points of information because so many fossils are processed every summer no intern or paleontologist can remember all of them. Also, many aren't opened and prepped for years.

Molding and Casting is used to make recreations of fossils that are too fragile or valuable to science to toy with or put back together. The molds/casts can then be messed with and rearranged.

We actually used Legos to make an sealed unit that can be constructed, taken apart, and reused. Then we filled it with clay so half the mold can be created. After the mold is poured in and hardened (about a day), the Lego unit can be flipped and the clay taken out so the other half is made. I must wait the weekend for this to dry before I can do the next step.

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