Paleontology Division

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Field Work

The staff, students, and volunteers of the Paleontology Division enjoy the benfits of the location of the Museum and Texas Tech University. The majority of the Division's active localities are less than an hour drive from Lubbock and the relatively mild winters allow for fieldwork throughout the year. The fieldwork entails prospecting for new localities, studying the geology and paleontology of known sites, and the excavation of specimens. The fieldwork is fundamental in the continued expansion and development of the collections. 

Doug Cunningham excavating a large aetosaur femur. Collecting fossils at MOTT VPL 3899 in the upper Dockum Group. Gretchen Gürtler with a jacket of a large phytosaur skull. Field crew jacketing a Triassic phytosaur skull.


Current research by the staff and students in the Paleontology Division focuses heavily on the fossil vertebrates from the Late Triassic Dockum Group of Texas, but also includes research of theoretical interpretations of biomechanics and research on material from Antarctica. Division personnel conduct research as widely varied as the collections. Research includes the description of new species, analysis of the faunas, and the dissemination of information produced by the research. The division also shares information and specimens through loans with fellow researchers working on a diverse range of taxa and subjects. The goal is to, through in-house and co-operative research, contribute to a better understanding of the fossil faunas and the world they lived in.

Sankar Chatterjee coding characters on Polarornis. Antarctic fossil bird research meeting at the MOTTU. Bill Mueller preparing another new species of Trilophosaurus.

Lab and Collections Work

Students, volunteers, and staff in the Paleontology Division are involved in a wide spectrum of important tasks related to the collections. Each specimen that is collected needs preparation and preservation according to its condition and needs. This is followed by identification and curation on the specimen into the collections where it is then housed according to its needs. This is time consuming work; however, it offers students an excellent opportunity for hands-on experience. Molding and casting specimens for exhibit, research, and teaching also afford more opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience. 

Gretchen Gürtler preparing a metoposaur clavicle. Whitney Farmer air scribing Jurassic fish remains. Frances Rivera preparing a metoposaur skull. Cunningham and Chatterjee examining a manus.

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Updated: February, 2014.   Site maintained by the MuseNet Administrator.