Watch as stone slabs become prehistoric scientific specimens.
The famous vertebrate fossils in our collection began as massive hunks of rock. Watch preparators ready fossilized specimens for display or research in the McDonald’s Fossil Preparation Laboratory.
After scientists discover fossils out in the field, they carefully package the fossils at the site for their journey back to the Fossil Prep Lab. Then, a team of preparators and volunteers begin extracting the fossils from their stone tombs—a job that can take months (or years, for a large specimen; SUE the T. rex took 12 person-years!).
See the steps in this delicate process firsthand as you watch preparators at work in the Fossil Prep Lab.
What’s behind the glass inside the lab?
- Tables that support 2,000-pound rocks
- State-of-the-art microscopes
- Miniature versions of jackhammers, circular saws, and sandblasters that shoot baking soda (strong enough to whittle away rock but gentle enough to protect precious fossils)
- A special exhaust system to remove dust from the air
Screen reader users can skip the following slideshow buttons by using heading navigation. All slides have been displayed above.