If you have ever dreamed of examining dinosaur fossils or thought it would be fun to be a paleontologist for even a day, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences has an opportunity for you.
The Department of Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology is offering volunteers the opportunity to be a part of an active research project to discover the bones of dinosaurs and other mammals that could provide important information about Earth’s ancient past.
Researchers discovered a wealth of fossilized material during summer excavations in western Oklahoma and the North Slope of Alaska. The materials were brought back to campus for study.
“The Homestead Site in Kenton is the first place in Oklahoma where dinosaur fossils were discovered since before World War II,” said Lindsey Yann, Ph.D., senior research assistant and vertebrate paleontology volunteer coordinator in the OSU-CHS Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. “We have been able to recover more than just 150-million-year-old dinosaur bones. We also have found pieces of crocodylians, turtles and snails.”
Volunteers are needed in the laboratory to help search through the materials and examine the fossils to gather information about life on earth millions of years ago. The research is essential to understanding how life evolved on earth as well as the geologic record of diversity, adaptation and climate variability.
The anatomy and cell biology department is seeking individuals of any age who are able to volunteer for a few hours each week. Available times are Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m.-noon or 1-4:30 p.m. There are also afterschool slots for motivated students. Some volunteer options likely will be available during the summer.
“Volunteers perform crucial assistance in data collection for scientists in an effort to discover as much scientific information from each specimen as we can,” Yann said. “We are looking for volunteers who are interested in science and want to learn to prepare dinosaur bones and work with microscopes.”
No experience or special knowledge is needed. Volunteers will be trained in the paleontological techniques needed for the research.
Once the specimens are prepared, they are sent to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, which maintains one of the most important records of vertebrate history and evolution in the Southern Plains. The museum’s vertebrate paleontology collection is a major research resource for scientists worldwide.For more information about becoming a paleontology and vertebrate volunteer, contact Yann at Lindsey.Yann@okstate.edu or call 918-561-1429. To learn about the volunteer activities, visit the OSU-CHS Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology website at http://www.healthsciences.okstate.edu/college/biomedical/anatomy/paleontology/volunteer.php.