© 2006 Zackery Zdinak
While I've now embarked on a career in fossil preparation, these essays limn my beginnings as an amateur fossil hunter. Initially written for the New York Paleontological Society newsletter, they skew more personal than technical. The subject is less fossils found than the experience of finding them. While I try to label specimens as accurately as possible, I wouldn't presume to call this a field guide.
I also hope to convey their beauty as objects. The images are of fossils I've collected and the places I found them. Photos taken by others are credited accordingly, the rest are mine. I will continue to add and edit pictures and stories as time goes on. This then is a work in progress, a work in process. I invite you to return and watch it evolve.
Last update: November 18, 2013. I recently joined Peabody Museum colleagues to explore a rediscovered 19th Century quarry from which O.C. Marsh had acquired fossils of the Triassic reptile Aetosaurus arcuatus. While Connecticut is famous for its dinosaur trackways, the actual remains of Mesozoic reptiles hereabouts are rare, so this was an exciting prospect. The field trip was organized by Dan Brinkman, led by Copeland MacClintock, with field prep support from Marilyn Fox, assisted by John Ferro, Brian Roach, and myself.
Once a commercial brownstone quarry, the site, behind a suburban street, is now overgrown by woods. The land owners kindly allowed us access. Graffitti from the 1890s carved into a ledge verified the vintage of the site. After scrambling over boulders for the morning, we identified two possible molds of Aetosaur osteoderms -- the armadillo-like armor encasing this pig-sized critter. Before trying to collect anything we gathered site data: GPS coordinates, photos. Then Marilyn made casts of the specimens -- one a tricky vertical pour. After that Brian and John deployed the Vertebrate Paleontology Prep Lab's rock saw to successfully extract them.
It was a fun day, I hope closer examination proves the specimens worth the effort!
Questions? Comments? Please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org