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Akiko Shinya

Chief Preparator

Integrative Research Center

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. 



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Additional Information


University of Toronto, BSc in Geology.


Fossil preparation. 

Work experience

2001 - current  Field Museum

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

1999 - 2000 Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada


Hand crafted potato shooter.

Professional affiliations

Society of Vertebrate Paleontology