Preparing Dinosaur Fossils Inside AMNH

Preparing Dinosaur Fossils Inside AMNH

This specifically is the skull of a dinosaur
from a group of families called the Ankylosaurus, the armored dinosaurs, if you can imagine
an armadillo with a lot of spikes all over it. It’s a common misconception that bones are
dug in the field where they’re found, but what actually happens is a researcher will
be walking through deserted barren canyon land looking for bones sticking out of the
rocks or weathering out. A trench is dug around the specimen, then
it is wrapped in bandages so it’s in plaster, which is what you see here. So this is straight from the field where it
was found in Mongolia. For this material I would use small tools
like these needles and things like that and some brushes to slowly work off the rock from
the bone. This is soft enough where I can use these
kind of needles and things like that to kind of gently work it off. We’re basically chipping away until we get
to the surface of the bone and then what we’re doing from there is following the line of
the bone around, gradually removing the rock as we’re doing so. So what I’m doing is essentially just using
this needle to softly work off the surface of the rock till I get to the layer of bone
underneath. I’ve been working on this piece already for
about five months already, and it’s probably gonna take me another three or four to get
it to the condition that the researchers want it in and every year these researchers go
out to the field and collect hundreds of specimens and they bring them back here to the Museum. A lot of times we just find pieces you see
here, they’re just broken pieces of bones of individual dinosaurs and things like that. But once in a while we do get whole dinosaurs
and this tells us very much about the anatomy. This is how we know certain dinosaurs were
actually, how their bones were arranged and things like that. Using a silicon rubber, we’ve actually made
a mold of the skull here. And then filling it in with an epoxy resin,
we basically make a copy of the skull, you can see here, and this is research-quality,
you can take this under a CT scan and it will literally have all the folds and wrinkles
and cracks of the original specimen. We’ll take about four copies of each bone
that we do. One scientific quality cast, another one for
the home institutions, whatever country we got it from they’ll get a copy of it, as well. Somebody will sit here and literally block
out these pieces, put them back together and mold the whole thing all together and get
this cast that you see here.

Randy Schultz

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39 thoughts on “Preparing Dinosaur Fossils Inside AMNH

  1. Spinobreaker says:

    this is insane… itd be cool, and boring as hell lol

  2. dragonamt says:

    My friend does this at the museum of natural history in Ann Arbor MI, he is a paleontology major at the University of Michigan. Last I talked to him he was working on a mastodon skeleton. This is very cool.

  3. FuzzzWuzzz says:

    I always wondered if you used 3D scanners to produce digital models so that the specimens can be prototyped by whoever needs them.

  4. 1Weemaryanne says:

    Hard work, with very cool results.

  5. Eugen Afanasjev says:

    Yes they 3D-laser scanners are used
    (mostly on a very pricy, fragile, rare or from private collection items).
    But by today standards, it is a whole lot of boring work.
    Because all you get is a point cloud, wich contains millions and billions(milliards) of points.
    So it needs a thorough additional work to convert it into NURBs os triangulated surfaces.
    Trust me – you don't want to be one who does this.

  6. FuzzzWuzzz says:

    @SEThatered I've always fancied geometry and algorithms. I might need an extra-cozy wrist cushion for my mouse hand, but compared to other work I've had to do, this is the kind of challenge I could actually dig.

  7. Eugen Afanasjev says:

    But if you are truly dedicated, you can try.
    Besides museums are always happy to have extra help.
    You can dedicate your pc and time and help the museum of your choice.
    Just contact them directly.
    Some of them can even provide you with a software under their licence
    (for that you should usually sign a contract, but it is never a rip-off).
    P.S. Personally, i think it is the best kind of donation, everybody can do.

  8. JabberCT says:


  9. TheGuromu says:

    I am also a preparator of vertebrate fossils, and was glad to see that finally someone explains how to make the whole process of preparation of fossils in the paleontology laboratory … because often people do not realize that the fossil must be prepared , studied and then exposed …. and the preparation of these same fossils takes months or even years! =)

  10. Dollbabyloves says:

    Dinosaurs are fake

  11. animaljp3 says:

    we have the bones and they fit in evolution. They are real. I win.

  12. animaljp3 says:

    now i will demean something you like

  13. Dollbabyloves says:

    @animaljp3 you're not changing my opinion. They're fake fake fake. And the funny thing about arguing on the Internet, no matter who "wins", you still look like an idiot. I chose not to fulfill you're urge. I'm sorry I hurt you're feelings, keep believing in you're mythical dragons. Bye now 🙂 lol

  14. gcirc says:

    @dollbabyloves lol foolish

  15. mrknowitalllt1 says:

    i hope you are serious about your statement because i agree 100. i've looked at many documentaries about finding dino bones over the years and i'm still waiting to see proof of a dinosaur

  16. JMB 9 says:

    Whats with the black nails? Is it a paleo thing?

  17. Jose Rivas says:

    It is cool!!!!!!!! From Jessica.

  18. STHFGDBY says:

    What's the story with his pink bracelet and nail polish.. Dear oh dear.

  19. MeatShield says:

    maybe it helps with glare?

  20. MeatShield says:

    what's wrong w/ pink?

  21. STHFGDBY says:

    Nothing if it's on a female.

  22. EyeCell says:

    Fuck your nail polish

  23. Morgan More says:

    his black chip nail polish is screaming loud over his interview  

  24. Stickerbrushes says:


  25. Leo Blanco says:

    Dinosaurs are real.but they died a lot 8f million yeats ago

  26. Leo Blanco says:

    But this one is face its clay

  27. Leo Blanco says:

    I meant fake

  28. Sameer Raza says:

    Can someone explain me that what is the difference between the fossil and bones ? And how the hell do these paleontologist find it ? Since earth has changed so much since Dinosaur died, since 100 millions years ago, the earth land crust has been taking new forms and shape and the fossil, bones should have been buried 1000ft deep underneath the ground not on top of the surface ? How is it possible ? Can someone well knowledged about dinosaur fossil and bones tell me ? please thank you.

  29. kossshhh says:

    i read somewhere that t-rex and a couple other dinosaurs are fake, created by americans to get the attention, but the other "normal" dinosaurs are real… the same article gave the explanation why T-rex make no sense as an animal

  30. Marcellus King says:

    Interesting video, but what's up with the black nail polish?

  31. coonrapidswrslr says:

    really hand tools on a specimen like that? Microblaster would take a week prep max.

  32. Chad Curry says:

    Great video! Subbed! Sub back if you want too! Thanks!

  33. Kostas Gnaf says:

    My focus was on his painted nails….But Why

  34. Big Bearn says:

    Looks like he's sculpting animals according to his assumptions. Goodness, lot of these bone could be sculpted to look like anything they want. Looks suspicious to me.

  35. BARBATVS 89 says:

    Dinosaurs never existed. What would destroy the fittest would destroy the furry woodland creatures. Survival of the fittest and common sense refute the barney myth.

  36. Zoes Dada says:

    It's amazing to me there are so many dinosaur fossils out there. It takes a pretty specific chain of events to create them or preserve them. Really in comparison to some other natural phenomena fossils are pretty common.

  37. ƬӇЄ ƦЄƔЄƝƛƝƬ says:


  38. Alchemist S says:

    What kind of schooling would I need to get this job? I’d love do this

    Also the people who are commenting on your nails and bracelets, I think they look wonderful on you sir

  39. Ahmad Faris says:

    Sculpting rocks to shape it like a bone.

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