Tom White, Collections Assistant at the Museum of Zoology, writes:
Here in the Museum of Zoology, the work of packing up the stores ahead of the redevelopment of the ARUP building has begun in earnest. The first task for our Dry Invertebrate Store is to sort out the considerable number of sediment samples that have accumulated over the years. These samples are by-products of palaeontological research in the Museum – to find fossils, you have to collect and process material from a variety of deposits, ranging from relatively modern sands and gravels to ancient rocks.
Once the fossils of primary interest to the researcher have been extracted, examined and curated, the issue of what to do with the remaining residues can be problematic. Should they be archived in case they can be of further use to future scientists? Should they be sent to other specialists interested in different aspects of the material? In some cases, we might decide that the samples have no further value and the residues can be thrown away. Those still considered to be important will be moved to a storage facility at the Sub-department of Animal Behaviour at Madingley, where a lot of important Pleistocene sediment samples are already kept.
There is a wealth of samples from important fossil localities to look through, and I will keep readers up to date with the latest (re)discoveries!