Our Staff

Akiko Shinya's picture
Chief Preparator, Fossil Vertebrates
Research Areas: 
Year Started: 

My primary role at the Field Museum is to prepare vertebrate fossils using mechanical, manual, and chemical methods, although I do spend a few weeks or months every year doing fieldwork where I help locate and unearth fossils.  Fossil preparation exposes a fossil by removing it from the surrounding matrix so that  researchers can see the fossil's detail morphology.  There are many curators and associated researchers that work with the preparators, therefore I work on a wide variety of specimens including dinosaurs, fish, birds, amphibians, mammals, synapsids, and marine reptiles.  A specimen's size can vary from a tiny amphibian jaw that is smaller than my finger tip to a large marine reptile skull that is larger than myself (I'm 5'1).  As a preparator I have the unique opportunity to see a specimen removed from its matrix first hand and my lab is always full of brand new ancient creatures from all over the world.