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Catalan Institute of Palaeontology Miquel Crusafont

Preparation of fossils, in order to maintain it in good conditions longer

View of the laboratory preparation centre.

View of the laboratory preparation centre.

The fossil material yielded from a palaeontological excavation must then undergo laboratory restoration, which prepares the fossils to be preserved in optimum conditions so they can be studied by the researchers or put on public display.

To preserve a fossil, the wrapping applied to the piece during the excavation must first be removed. Then all the sediment surrounding the fossil must be removed and, at the same time, it must be strengthened, or hardened with a special kind of liquid glue (this process even starts during excavation). Then the piece is registered: it is assigned a registration number, which is written on the fossil itself, and the same code is noted on a label. Once this process is completed, it is stored in the collection storeroom.

The laboratory also carries out the task of making moulds and replicas set aside for study, exhibits or exchanges with other research centres: As the fossils are extremely delicate, making a replica gives us the possibility to handle and study them without the risk of damaging them.

In the laboratory non-fossil material is also prepared, in other words modern samples, as it is important for researchers to be able to compare different modern day animal skeletons with ancient remains.

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