Fossil Preparation Lab

Fossil Preparation Lab

Museum Ball Cap

This week I joined the team of the Fundy Geological Museum. As Director of the museum, I will be building capacity for museum visitation, education programs, and research.

The FGM is located in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, on the northern shore of the Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy. The Town is a jewel in northern Nova Scotia, filled with creative people with inspiring stories. There are also dinosaurs in the sandstone cliffs!

One of the first tasks on my first day as Director was to begin working with the Acadia University co-op students, to reorganize the museum’s fossil preparation lab. During the next six weeks the students will begin training on fossil preparation, the job of carefully exposing the fragile fossil bone.

fossil lab cleaning

The photo (right) shows us at the start of our work of cleaning the reorganizing the lab space. By the end of the week we will have two fossil preparation stations established.

The museum’s fossil preparation lab is unique in Atlantic Canada. We are the only fully equipped fossil preparation lab east of Montreal. Visitors to the museum can look into the fossil lab from the exhibit gallery, and this summer, students working in the lab will come out to the gallery to answer questions. Come the museum this summer to see dinosaur bones being cleaned in the lab.

Stay tuned for more updates from the Fundy Geological Museum fossil preparation lab.

I will also be leading a small research collection expedition this summer, to collect new small vertebrate remains from the Wasson Bluff research site. Stay tuned to the Facebook page and Twitter @FundyGeo for more updates from the lab and the field.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below.

Podcast Roadtrip

Podcast Roadtrip

On Monday I will officially begin my new role as Director of the Fundy Geological Museum. I will continue to post updates in this blog, giving updates about research and providing background information and stories related to projects being carried out at the museum. I hope you will follow along, and please feel free to comment on any of the posts or follow me on Twitter @FundyGeo.

Yesterday I drove from Halifax to Parrsboro, to move some books, papers and other resources related to my research projects. As I will now be spending more time in the car, I thought it would be a good time to begin listening to the PalaeoCast podcasts series. I downloaded the free episodes on my iPhone and listened to the first four episodes on the drive up and back


The first PalaeoCast episode begins, well, at the beginning.  Dave Marshall speaks with Dr. Leila Battison about her work with the origin of life and the search for life on other planets. The episode and others in the series were very thought provoking, and a great way to spend the time in the car.

I highly recommend checking out the Palaeocast series – it is excellent!


New Field Season Begins

New Field Season Begins

Yesterday marked the start of a new year of field work. The sky was threatening rain, so there was only enough time for one hour of quick prospecting. Attention was focused on examining a couple of sites where fossils have been found in previous years. Wedge was on this trip, looking for tennis balls that may have washed up with the tide. He’s an eternal optimist.

Wedge at Wassons - 2014

Wedge looks for fossil tennis balls on the beach at Wasson Bluff.

The dinosaur site did not show any new exposed bone. The cliff has eroded significantly though – so there is now some concern about the top part of the cliff. It looks like the cliff is slightly undercut up higher, which increases the risk of a rapid collapse. Further assessment is required, but it appears that the site is unsafe for field work until the profile of the cliff improves. The upper part of the cliff will have to let go before additional work is likely to occur below.

Further down the beach, another site seems to hold great potential for new discoveries.  The site was discovered during last year’s field work, when Mary Leaman and Kathy Ogden found many small bone fragments among the sandstone which represents an ancient river channel.  There has been considerable erosion over the winter but there are new bone fragment actively eroding from the cliff and the site is reasonably safe for field work.

2014 Fieldsite

Plans will be put in place to do several days of field work at this site this year.  If you are interested in helping with some field work, contact  At the very least you may want to drop by and see the field work going on when researchers are on site. Make sure you LIKE the page to get regular updates about field work.

Fossils Protected By Law

All visitors to Nova Scotia should remember that paleontology resources in the province are protected by Special Places Protection legislation.  It is an offense to remove any fossil material that is exposed.  If you find something, you should contact the Nova Scotia Museum or Fundy Geological Museum and tell the curators/staff what you found and where.


Leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you have.