The second week of Paleontology was primarily spent in the field: for four of the six class days this week, we spent the entire day in the field, using what we learned in the previous week to find and identify fossils. Though a majority of the time was spent prospecting, we also learned the methods fossil hunters use to excavate and sieve, and even had the exciting opportunity to practice them!
While in the field, paleontological teams spend the majority of their time prospecting. Prospecting is paramount to a team’s success, and a necessary first step: before one can successfully excavate or sieve, you must find an area or specimen you are interested in! Doing so is not always easy, and prospecting requires great diligence and patience, but precisely for that reason it is that much more rewarding when you are met with a great fossil discovery! When a team prospects, the members spread out in the specified area of interest and spend their time combing the ground with their eyes (and hands!) for fossils. Because fossils come in all shapes and sizes, some can be minuscule, either because they are remnants from small mammals or because they have been broken into smaller pieces. As such, sometimes fossil hunters will sit or even lay on the ground to get a closer and more intensive view of the area they are investigating!