A trained eye, persistence - and a good deal of luck - often lead paleontologist to new fossil discoveries.
New fossil localities are discovered every year. Currently Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument monitors over 600 fossil bearing localities. Each of these is meticulously recorded to capture all pertinent scientific data.
Once discovered, a fossil locality is photographed, GPS positioned, and documented in field notes.
Using hand tools, paleontologists carefully excavate the fossil by removing sediment from around the specimen. The sediment provides geologists context to the discovery.
The specimen is then wrapped in a plaster jacket to preserve and protect the fossil while it is transported from the field to the laboratory
Fossils are cleaned, stabilized, examined, and catalogued.
After a fossil specimen has been preserved and entered into the museum collections, it can then be used for scientific studies and display as museum exhibits. Each fossil recovered adds to our understanding of ancient life and ecosystems that existed in southern Idaho during the Pliocene Epoch.