ART OF FOSSIL COLLECTING
Fossil collecting for me ?
interested in the way the world used to be ? Do the strange creatures and
plants that used to inhabit earth fascinate and interest you ? If so, then
fossil collecting is for you. Fossil collecting brings you closer to these
life forms, and handling the real thing can teach you more than most books
do I get started ?
way you can start off your fossil collection is to join a club, and get
contact with other fossil collectors. They will help you with how and where
to find fossils in your local area and may provide useful contacts for
the future. Some kind people will even give you a few of their swaps, just
to get your collection started.
will I keep all these fossils ?
a lot of ways you can keep your fossils. Depending on the size of them,
you can store fossils in labeled boxes with cotton wool. Wooden slide out
drawers with different size compartments are very handy, as are display
cabinets. A good fossil collection should not be kept hidden but displayed
for all to admire. Shelves displaying fossils should not be cluttered,
but kept simple. Different material that can be used to good effect are
glass, wood and shiny metals. Display stands can be expensive brand new,
so have a look around local secondhand stores for a set of shelves that
would be best to display your particular collection. Fossils should be
dusted every month or so, and labels with their name, location and collector,
should be kept with the specimen at all times. Unlabeled fossils are worthless
to many collectors and scientists.
are fossils ?
depends on where you live. Fossils can be found in a lot of different places,
such as on the sea floor, in creeks / rivers, on beaches, in cliff sides,
in quarries, or even beside roads. Fossils are only found in sedimentary
rocks formed over 10 000 years ago. Fossils from the sea are plentiful
as shells are easily covered by sediments. To find fossils in your area,
you should once again talk to experienced collectors, or consult a geological
map. You will find out a lot about the ancient history of your area and
all the old coastlines etc.
do I get fossils from the site to my collection ?
be lucky enough to find fossils free of matrix (surrounding rock) but sooner
or later you will have to remove a fossil from it. If it is a large boulder,
a sledgehammer can be used, a smaller piece can be handled with hammer
and chisel and small, delicate pieces with a fine scratching tool or acids.
The specimen can then be washed, labeled and displayed. Protective coatings
of plastics can be used to protect rare or good condition fossils.
The above is only a short
guide but other, more comprehensive books should be consulted. One book
I recommend for beginners is :
The Nature Company Guides
: ROCKS AND FOSSILS
by Arthur B. Busbey III,
Robert R. Coenraads, Paul Willis, David Roots.
RD Press , Australia, 1996
JAMIE WOOD - Invercargill, New Zealand :