Fossil Friday: Today marks the 70th anniversary of Museum paleontologist Edwin Colbert’s remarkable discovery of numerous specimens of Coelophysis bauri at New Mexico’s Ghost Ranch.  These slender carnivores roamed the Earth during the late Triassic, when their body plan was a relatively new innovation. Learn more on our blog.


 Meet the nodosaur — the plant-eating armored dinosaur! Discovered by miners in Alberta, it is the best-preserved fossil of its kind.


Apparently these pendants sold quite rapidly.

It’s Fossil Friday! Today I’ve decided to bring them to life with a little acrylic illustration also. These are fossils of ammonites, ancient relatives of octopuses. Ammonites are so common and well documented in the fossil record that they are useful for determining the age of the rock from where they are found. These are known as index fossils. So let’s say a little ammonite fossil is found along side a new dinosaur discovery, it gives us a fairly accurate date of when that dinosaur once lived.

When found, this extinct monkey skull lacked a face and the right side of its jaw. How can we display it whole? Experts used bones from modern monkeys in the Museum’s vast collection to guide reconstruction of the face. As for the jaw, they scanned the existing left side, then reversed the scan and 3-D printed a new right side to match the left.

Celebrate #FossilFriday with the extinct Mono Cubano and learn how bone experts used 3-D printing to reconstruct this primate’s face in the Museum’s newest exhibition ¡Cuba! 


Uptilted wall of dinosaur footprints, Bolivia

Fossil Friday, working in tight spaces. 

Sometimes fossils aren’t in the easiest place to reach. Imagine slowly chipping away at a fossil for hours in this small space.

© The Field Museum, CSGEO32665, Photographer Elmer S. Riggs.

John B. Abbott collecting the skull of Dolichorhinus longiceps Douglass, divide near White River, Gilgenite vein #2 Geology specimen P12175

5x7 glass negative 


4 million years ago, sloths like this here Paramylodon were like the size of elephants!

Some lived in North America up until 11,000 years ago. Some believe the Giant Ground Sloth went extinct due to climate change. Others believe these ginormous beasts were hunted to extinction by early humans.

So I dab in awe of the Old School Mammals. We never got to meet you. But your stories live on!


In the summer of 2014, a team led by the Museum’s Provost of Science Mike Novacek and Paleontology Division Chair Mark Norell headed to the Gobi for the joint American Museum of Natural History/Mongolian Academy of Sciences expedition. The group included Aki Watanabe, one of Mark Norell’s students at the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School, who was recently chosen as a beta-tester for Google Glass and who recorded video on Glass throughout the trip.

In this video, Watanabe finds a fossil dinosaur nest, and shows how he extracts and packages it to return to the lab for further research.

Watch on

Fossil collecting on the shores of lake Huron. The elongate one looks like a horn coral, not sure what the other one is. Fossils often can be found separated from rocks like this as they tend to erode differently from the surrounding rock. A lakeshore though you’ll find some and they’ll also be rounded and not quite pristine because of the waves.

From our collection, this is the upper jaw of a mosasaur, Tylosaurus proriger to be specific, that was found in Kansas in 1951. Note the sharp teeth in the center of the palate… the better to eat you with my dear! 

Fun fact about mosasaurs, they’re extinct marine reptiles, but are related to the Komodo dragon.