Fossils need expert care when they are discovered, extracted, prepared, stored, and displayed in order to ensure their longevity and scientific utility. When most people see fossils in museums they think of paleontologists in the field. They may often fail to realize that the specimen they’re looking at is in a state of decay right before their eyes! Museum conservators are tasked with preserving the museum’s collections which could include fossils, taxidermy, archeological remains, pieces of art, and all of the other exhibits you would normally see.
For this episode, I spoke with Dr. Mariana Di Giacomo, conservator at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University. We talk about her role at the museum, the factors that lead to fossil decay, and the steps one can take to care for their own fossils at home. We also discuss paleontology in Latin America and the renovations underway at the Yale Peabody museum.