About the only preparation the beginning collector should carry out is a careful trimming of excess rock around the fossil with a hammer and chisel. Laboratory technicians perform a great many more operations with sophisticated tools and techniques. These may include: serial grinding, peels, thin-sectioning, vibration tools for chipping, miniature sand blasting, vacuum-needle, acid breakdown of rock to expose fossils, x-ray
investigation, infrared and ultra-violet photography, casting and molding with plastic, drawings, and light and scanning electron microscope photographs.
The simplest way to catalog collections is to number each specimen serially. The numbers may be typed on small stiff paper labels and glued to the fossils, or the number may be written directly on the rock with black india ink. If the rock is too dark to distinguish the number, paint a small area with white paint and write on the paint.
File the numbers and information on 3" x 5" cards, in a notebook, or in a computer database. Include the fossil's phylum, class, order, and, where possible, genus and species. The name of the rock unit that yielded the fossil (e.g., Potsdam Sand stone), its geological age, the exact location of the site (i.e. state, county, quadrangle, distance
and direction from recognizable points such as roads and natural features, and posit ion within the outcrop), the collector 's name, and the date of find.
More detailed and systematic records are kept by such scientific organization s as museums, universities, and mining or petroleum companies. However, the data entries suggested above are sufficient for amateurs, clubs, and elementary-secondary
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