Staff Profile

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Akiko Shinya

Chief Preparator

Negaunee Integrative Research Center

Akiko is the chief fossil preparator in the Museum. She manages three labs filled with fascinating ancient creatures from all over the world, and works with scientists, volunteers, students and interns everyday. Akiko loves preparing fossils and going out on fieldworks to hunt and dig fossils with her colleagues.     

Akiko's primary role at the Field Museum is to prepare vertebrate fossils using mechanical, manual, and chemical methods, and supervises staff, volunteers and students while managing three vertebrate fossil preparation labs including McDonald's Fossil Preparation Lab.  Fossil preparation exposes a fossil by removing it from the surrounding matrix so that researchers can see the fossil's detail morphology. With many curators, associated researchers, and students studying variety of fossils, she and her team prepare 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 a finger tip to a large marine reptile skull that is larger than her (she is 5'1").  As a preparator, Akiko has a unique opportunity to see a specimen removed from its matrix first hand and her lab is always full of brand new ancient creatures from all over the world.  Akiko also spends a few weeks to months each year doing fieldwork to locate and unearth fossils.  She has done her fieldwork in the United States, Canada, Romania, China, Argentina, and Antarctica enjoyed wilderness and working with her colleagues.  She has also prepared multiple specimens and trained preparators internationally.  Akiko loves her work and will continue to explore, discover and unearth vertebrate fossils.

Recent Blog Posts

Additional Information


University of Toronto, BSc in Geology.


Fossil preparation. Fossil prospecting and excavation. 


Work experience

2001 - current  The Field Museum

2000 - 2001 Dr. Reisz Vertebrate Fossil Lab, University of Toronto

1999 - 2000 Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada


Hand crafted potato shooters.

Discovery of Gualicho shinyae.  


Professional affiliations

Society of Vertebrate Paleontology  Member since 1999. Currently serving for Communication Committee, co-chair; Preparators' Committee, member; Preparators' Award Committee, member.