University of Oregon: Satellite imagery could improve fossil-hunting at remote sites

University of Oregon: Satellite imagery could improve fossil-hunting at remote sites. “Satellite imagery could help paleontologists spot promising fossil sites before trekking into remote places. New research from the lab of UO paleontologist Edward Davis in the Department of Earth Sciences shows that satellite data can reveal large individual fossils from the air, allowing field researchers to embark on more targeted searches on the ground.”

Duke University: How a Digital Repository Is Democratizing Science From a Duke Basement

New-to-Me, from Duke University: How a Digital Repository Is Democratizing Science From a Duke Basement. “[MorphoSource] currently houses scans of over 53,000 biological, paleontological and archeological specimens from over 1,000 museum collections located in all six inhabited continents. Researchers can upload and download CT scans, 3D models, photos, X-rays and a variety of other file types. Data has been contributed or downloaded by over 17,000 researchers, students, teachers and artists all over the world.”

BusinessWire: Smithsonian Institution and Varsity Tutors Team Up for a Free Paleontology Class for Learners Around the World (PRESS RELEASE)

BusinessWire: Smithsonian Institution and Varsity Tutors Team Up for a Free Paleontology Class for Learners Around the World (PRESS RELEASE). “Varsity Tutors, a Nerdy Inc. (NYSE: NRDY) company, and one of the nation’s largest platforms for live online tutoring and classes, today announced a new collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution that will give people around the world free access to Smithsonian content. On Tuesday, May 24th at 7 pm ET, the Smithsonian will spotlight select content from the National Museum of Natural History in a large group online class hosted by Varsity Tutors, “Live from the Smithsonian: Living in the World of Dinosaurs”.”

Natural History Museum of Utah: Museum launches Triceratops Traits for middle schoolers

Natural History Museum of Utah: Museum launches Triceratops Traits for middle schoolers. “Today, the Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) is launching a new educational investigation as part of Research Quest, its award-winning and free online education program. In Triceratops Traits, the new investigation, students work alongside paleontologists to solve an evolutionary mystery by analyzing and interpreting data from the fossil record. This data, documenting the diversity, evolution and extinction of life forms, are interpreted under the premise that natural laws have operated the same throughout the history of life on Earth to fit 7th grade learning standards in Utah and 6th-8th grades around the U.S.”

Smithsonian Magazine: What’s Next for the 1.2 Million Prehistoric Fossils Now at Smithsonian

Smithsonian Magazine: What’s Next for the 1.2 Million Prehistoric Fossils Now at Smithsonian. “Under the grass, gravel, soil and sand lies layers of rock containing a record of past life. In North America, paleontologists have been studying this record for over 150 years. Many of the fossils they unearthed were stored in the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) Denver Fossil Collection…. Earlier this year, the last of the USGS collection’s 1.2 million fossils arrived at the museum, completing an acquisition that began back in 2018. But the acquisition was only one step in a bigger plan to systematize and digitize the USGS fossils for scientists everywhere to access for research.”

University of Virginia: The Big Reveal In Fossil Research

University of Virginia: The Big Reveal In Fossil Research. “While an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, Caitlin Wylie worked in the lab of well-known paleontologist Paul Sereno – a prolific discoverer of dinosaur skeletons – preparing fossils for research by carefully scraping rock off bones and gluing broken bones together…. Although Wylie loved the job, it wasn’t the dinosaurs, but the preparators who captured her imagination. Years later, she recently published a book, ‘Preparing Dinosaurs: The Work Behind the Scenes,’ which, among other things, explains how those magnificent museum displays of dinosaur skeletons are assembled.”

National Park Service: Ground Sloths, Cheetahs and Mountain Goats—Oh My! Thousands of Grand Canyon fossils revealed in paleontological inventory

National Park Service: Ground Sloths, Cheetahs and Mountain Goats—Oh My! Thousands of Grand Canyon fossils revealed in paleontological inventory. “The Grand Canyon National Park Centennial Paleontological Resource Inventory represents the largest park-specific fossil inventory in National Park Service history…. Thanks to the collective contributions of National Park Service staff, park partners and other paleontologists, this new paleontological inventory catalogues fossil specimens in the park’s museum collection and will contribute to new educational and interpretive efforts on Grand Canyon paleontology.”

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: The winning entry of the Open Research Challenge (ORC) offers a solution for cleaning paleontological data

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: The winning entry of the Open Research Challenge (ORC) offers a solution for cleaning paleontological data . “Joe Flannery Sutherland has developed code that will automatically clean taxonomical errors in the Paleobiology Database (PBDB). The database, which is compiled by researchers from all around the world, is used extensively for quantitative analyses of diversification and extinction. It contains more than 1.2 million entries, many of which are erroneous or outdated. The code, developed in the statistics program R, will clean, and ideally replace, incorrect taxonomic and stratigraphic inconsistencies as well as temporal assignments of occurrence data.”

IEEE Spectrum: Ambitious Data Project Aims to Organize the World’s Geoscientific Records

IEEE Spectrum: Ambitious Data Project Aims to Organize the World’s Geoscientific Records. “Geoscience researchers are excited by a new big-data effort to connect millions of hard-won scientific records in databases around the world. When complete, the network will be a virtual portal into the ancient history of the planet. The project is called Deep-time Digital Earth, and one of its leaders, Nanjing-based paleontologist Fan Junxuan, says it unites hundreds of researchers—geochemists, geologists, mineralogists, paleontologists—in an ambitious plan to link potentially hundreds of databases.”

Scientific American: Supercomputer Scours Fossil Record for Earth’s Hidden Extinctions

Scientific American: Supercomputer Scours Fossil Record for Earth’s Hidden Extinctions. “Using the world’s fourth most powerful supercomputer, Tianhe II, a team of scientists based mostly in China mined a database of more than 11,000 fossil species that lived from around 540 million to 250 million years ago. The result is a history of life during this period, the early Palaeozoic era, that can pinpoint the rise and fall of species during diversifications and mass extinctions to within about 26,000 years.”

Daily Iowan: UI fossil collection receives 18,000 donated pieces

Daily Iowan: UI fossil collection receives 18,000 donated pieces. “UI Earth and Environmental Sciences Collections Manager Tiffany Adrain is in charge of handling the fossil donation. She helped move the 250 boxes of bones this summer with the help of four intrigued students…. [Robert] Wolf documented all of his fossils on index cards and organized them into 22 boxes and two binders. This information will be cross-referenced by professionals and faculty members from the UI and other institutions after it is added to an online database, Adrain said.”

Science Daily: Scientists quantify the vast and valuable finds stored on museum shelves

Science Daily: Scientists quantify the vast and valuable finds stored on museum shelves . “Days after a fire tore through Brazil’s National Museum and destroyed specimens of irreplaceable heritage, a team of scientists has quantified the vast number of fossils that sit unstudied in natural history collections. Based on their findings, the team estimates only 3 to 4 percent of recorded fossil locations from across the globe are currently accounted for in published scientific literature. This means any shelved specimens that have never been published or documented digitally remain vulnerable to loss. Researchers from the California Academy of Sciences, University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP), and partner institutions are working to preserve these ‘dark data’ in online databases, highlighting the need for underfunded museums around the world to invest in the digital preservation of their collections.”

Inverse: Why Museums Need to Digitize Fossils to Understand Past Mysteries

Inverse: Why Museums Need to Digitize Fossils to Understand Past Mysteries . “For paleontologists, biologists, and anthropologists, museums are like the historians’ archives. And like most archives — think of those housed in the Vatican or in the Library of Congress — each museum typically holds many unique specimens, the only data we have on the species they represent.”