Somewhere in the gulf between paleontology and sanity....
Saturday, November 13, 2010
With apologies for the blurry iPhone photo, here is a nifty little trick that makes handling microfossils infinitely easier. Dipping your tweezer tips once or twice in liquid latex creates a cushioned bulb that allows you to handle small specimens that might be likely to break under the sometimes hard to gauge pressure applied with the tweezers. It also prevents JP Cavigelli's "watermelon-seed-effect," where a little bit of pressure and slipping sends the specimen flying across the room.
Matthew Brown works in a slightly obscure corner of paleontology doing work called fossil preparation. Fossil preparators spend most of their time actually doing what most people think all paleontologists do all day. He has worked for the University of Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History, the National Park Service at Petrified Forest, and currently the University of Texas at Austin. Now residing in Swinging South Austin, he recently lived off the grid in a dome in the middle of the Painted Desert, where his cat Jake was eaten by a bobcat, coyote, mountain lion, or phytosaur. Gustav, Jake's replacement, fared pretty well, and stayed behind in Arizona to guard the house.