A Resource for Fossil Preparation

Paleontologists usually discover fossils when they are exposed at the Earth's surface as a result of weathering by wind and water, at which point they can be excavated and brought back to a museum or other collection. This is only the beginning of a long process. The fossils that the paleontologist studies can be extraordinarily fragile, yet often are encased in rock or sandstone matrix that must be removed to reveal the information of the specimen hidden within, a process best done under controlled conditions in a laboratory. This work is accomplished by vertebrate fossil preparators, skilled specialists in the care and conservation of fossil bone.

This site is intended as a central resource on fossil preparation for anyone who has an interest in paleontology, from museum and laboratory professionals, to amateur collectors, to school and university students. If you are responsible for a fossil collection in an institution, have a private collection, are interested in the science of paleontology or about a career in the field, or just are curious how museums use and exhibit their fossil collections, this site is for you.

Website Topics



Learn about the history of fossil preparation.



Prospecting for, excavating, and collecting fossils.



Preparing fossils so that they can be studied.



Readying specimens for use.

Additional Information

Follow the Specimen

Case studies following the preparation of individual specimens.


Tools & Resources

Additional resources and downloads.