Petrified Forest National Park visitors can interact with paleontologists during fossil labs once again

Two-way radios are used for communication back and forth between the lab window

Petrified Forest National Park visitors can interact with paleontologists during fossil labs once again
Paleontologist Diana Boudreau works on carefully padding fossils of a phytosaur skeleton. (Source: Petrified Forest National Park)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Petrified Forest National Park announced that park visitors can, once again, can talk with a park paleontologist while they work on fossils in the demonstration fossil laboratory.

The laboratory is currently viewable Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To ensure safety and social distancing, two-way radios are used for communication back and forth while the paleontologists and fossils are viewable through the laboratory window.

“The work that goes on inside the laboratory can be very exciting,” paleontologist Diana Boudreau said. “The fossils come to us covered in rock, called matrix, so as we remove the matrix we are revealing the bones of an animal, or animals, that haven’t been seen for millions of years”.

Current projects in the laboratory include making sure each fossil is padded and carefully stored in the museum collection and cleaning and preparing fossils for study and display.

Paleontologist Phil Varela uses a microscope and small scraping tools to remove matrix from part of a fossilized metoposaur breast plate.
Paleontologist Phil Varela uses a microscope and small scraping tools to remove matrix from part of a fossilized metoposaur breast plate. (Source: Petrified Forest National Park)

The laboratory will also be open Wednesday, Oct.14 for National Fossil Day.

Caption for image 1. Paleontologist Diana Boudreau works on carefully padding fossils of a phytosaur skeleton.

Caption for image number 2. Paleontologist Phil Varela uses a microscope and small scraping tools to remove matrix from part of a fossilized  metoposaur breast plate.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.