SPPC posters montage

This is the poster gallery for the 2020 virtual Symposium on Palaeontological Preparation and Conservation. 

We are extremely grateful to our contributors for the posters you see below. Please enjoy viewing them. You will need to have a PDF reader installed on your computer, phone or tablet to view the full size documents, which can be loaded by clicking on the image. 

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Author: Lu Allington-Jones

Conservation Centre, Natural History Museum London, UK

X-ray micro Computed Tomography (XCT) was used to record deterioration of pyritic ammonites over a 15 month period. The specimens were stored in microenvironment enclosures of varying levels of relative humidity (0-70% RH) and oxygen (0-21%). XCT enabled both the specimen’s external and internal state to be recorded at 3 month intervals. Three dimensional renders from the scanned slices were constructed with CTPro 3D XT 3.1.12 software and maps of surface alteration were created by overlaying the time-lapsed scans of each ammonite using Avizo Lite 9.2.0 software. Surface distance calculations were made to enable empirical comparisons and evaluation of the different microenvironments. The study concluded that the most effective conditions for limiting deterioration is 40% RH and 0% oxygen (or 40-60% RH and 0% oxygen if specimens are pre-treated with ammonia vapour). XCT allowed production of unprecedented quantifiable data but there were, however, several limitations to the technique.

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Author: Stella Maris Alvarez

Fundación de Historia Natural “Félix de Azara” - Universidad Maimónides - CONICET, Argentina

At the Museum of Natural Sciences "Bernardino Rivadavia", I carried out an intervention on the specimen of Sclerocalyptus Ameghino, MACN-PV 18.107, from the Pleistocene of Buenos Aires province, Argentina. The scapulae were poorly preserved due to multiple fractures and parts of the bone were missing. First, small fragments were adhered to each other with cyanoacrylate. Some sections of scapulae were less than 4mm thick. The volumetric reintegration method was then used to complete the missing parts. Dental baseplate wax (useful in odontology and archaeology) was used to hold the filling material, which has thermoplastic properties. Wax was softened by immersing it in hot water because it is known that when wax is exposed to sources of dry heat, it melts too much on the surface and liquefies, filtering through the pores of the fossil, and is very difficult to remove. On the other hand, an advantage of immersion in hot water is that the wax softens homogeneously without reaching a liquid state, giving malleability and sticky viscosity. Once adhered wax was dry, successive small amounts of plaster were placed (using the dot technique) onto the wax near the bone until the missing layer was complete. This technique prevents plaster from sticking out (burrs). The main aim of this work is to shed light on a new plaster filling technique for incomplete and fragmentary fossils that are very thin, and which allows a functional and neat filling, without adverse consequences for the fossil.

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Author: Thorsten Brand

Three-dimensional life reconstructions of extinct animals have been popular as several metre-high sculptures ever since the famous Crystal Palace Dinosaurs were unveiled in the 1850’s. Although our scientific understanding of the creatures changed over time, our desire to picture prehistoric animals as physical models did not. Until recently fabricating accurate or at least plausible models even of small organisms was a matter of huge effort, time and money. However, innovations such as 3D modelling software and 3D printing are increasingly available for home use. They open the door for researchers and private people alike to model, sculpt and pose extinct animals with high precision, and to accurately produce them as physical objects which can be explored not only by eye but also by hand. As the design is all done virtually, no limitations are set for the effort invested into the reconstruction. Here I present the typical workflow of creating such a reconstruction by the example of the Cambrian trilobite Olenoides serratus in life-size. Starting by researching the species to be reconstructed, I cover the modelling, posing, preparation for printing, the printing itself as well as the assembly. The whole reconstruction was performed using free and mostly open source software on a home PC and a consumer 3D printer. The resulting model is painted by hand and finished. It illustrates how easily highly detailed models of life reconstructions can be produced today by a private person.

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Author: Vicen Carrió

Natural Sciences Department, National Museum of Scotland, Scotland

Gyracanthus is a large genus of Palaeozoic acanthodian fossil fish. The large spine fossils from their pectoral, dorsal and pelvic fins, and occasional shoulder bones, are often the only remains and proof that these fish existed. National Museum of Scotland (NMS) has a large collection of fossil spines found mostly in Berwickshire, the Lothians and Fife, Scotland, in early Carboniferous sediments (359-323 million years ago) and some from the Newsham Colliery of Northumberland, England (mid-Carboniferous).

The spines measure from several centimetres to half a metre in length and from a few centimetres to around 8 cm in diameter. Since these spines represent about half the length of the body, the fishes probably ranged up to 1.2 m long.

Some of the specimens were collected in the 1800s and have been used for research and are normally broken and repaired. Unfortunately, there is no information about the treatment and adhesive used. It is evident that the materials used to repair the spines were the best available in those years, although it has since proved to be unsuitable in the long term. The adhesive has lost its properties and failed its intended purpose to keep the whole spines together.

Lack of preventative conservation is evident. A simple use of adequate housing of the spine would create a protection against one of the agents of deterioration: physical forces, helping the whole collection to perpetuate for future years.

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Author/s: Sofia A. V. Chambi-Trowell1, Emily J. Rayfield1, Michael J. Benton1, and David I. Whiteside1,2

1 Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, UK; 2 Earth Science Department, Natural History Museum London, UK

The fossil record is notoriously incomplete; many fossil taxa are known from only a scarce few bones and complete skulls are a rarity. Reconstructing a skull where most of the material is missing is normally left to the interpretation of the researcher and is therefore susceptible to human bias. Here, in this preliminary study, we investigate the use of ratios of linear measurements of the skulls of rhynchocephalians (a group of lizard-like reptiles) as a means of predicting the dimensions of markedly incomplete rhynchocephalian skulls.

Significant correlation was found for a number of these measurements – for example, maxillary height / length can be used to predict the skull height / length – demonstrating that there is a quantifiable predictability in the dimensions of the rhynchocephalian skull, which can be extrapolated from as little material as an isolated maxilla or dentary. However, it should be noted this is still preliminary work with a limited number of taxa (n = 22), and it is not yet apparent whether this correlation exists in other tetrapod groups. While using complete or near-complete skulls remains ideal where possible, this new methodology has applications for illustrative purposes and for calculating moment arms for comparative biomechanical analyses. Future work with true lizards (Squamata) will further evaluate the accuracy of this method and investigate additional potential factors such as phylogenetic signal or size.

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Author: Steve Etches

Museum Founder and Head of Collections, The Etches Collection: Museum of Jurassic Marine Life, UK

Paul Wignall (1990) noted from the Upper Kimmeridge Clay the occurrence of unnamed diademid echinoids. In the past, collecting has yielded specimens normally isolated with spines detached and often with no association with each other. The specimens found have a maximum size of 8 mm and are as yet not named, possibly due to their preservation or wear during exposure by the sea. Very recently we have found and collected slabs of shale with 40 plus specimens in very close association.

Different techniques were trialed to prepare the specimens out of the matrix. Numerous hours of preparation yielded 42 specimens in total, with the majority having articulated spines. These finds should, with the quality of preservation, now be identifiable and may prove to be new to science.

Wignall, P. 1990. Paleontological Association Special Papers in Paleontology. 43

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Author/s: Javier Fernández Martínez2, Fátima Marcos-Fernández1,2, Elena Fernández Fernández2, Irene Martínez Fernández2, Marta Onrubia1, Gema Siliceo3, and Manuel J. Salesa3

1 Facultad de Bellas Artes, UCM, España; Grupo  de  Biología  Evolutiva,  Facultad  de  Ciencias, UNED, España; 3 Departamento  de  Paleobiología,  Museo  Nacional  de  Ciencias  Naturales–CSIC, España

The Pleistocene mammalian fossils extracted from cave sites present several conservation problems such as a high percentage of moisture (around 100 %) and the presence of soluble and insoluble salts obtained from the surrounding matrix. During the preparation work, it was clear that a rapid loss of humidity and the exposure to air produced the hardening of the salt crusts and the cracking of the fossils. The preparation work lasted for 3 months, and they combined cleaning treatments, with controlled moisture loss, until reaching around 30 %.

To control this latter process, fossils were kept in boxes that were opened daily to make them lose moisture gradually, extracting only those fossils that were going to be prepared. The procedure to remove the matrix and salt crusts were both mechanical and chemical, and consisted of the use of hydro-alcoholic solutions and anionic surfactants, applied with a poultice; these treatments were allowed to act for 3 to 15 minutes, depending on the hardness of the material, removing the remains with absorbent paper. For consolidation of the fossils, we used Paraloid B72® dissolved in acetone in a concentration of 5 %. We applied this solution when the moisture of the fossils was around 30 %, as for higher values, the resin loses adhesion. The relative moisture and the presence of salts are important variables to consider when choosing the most appropriate treatment to be applied to fossils. For that reason, it is very important to control and check both parameters during all the preparation processes.

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Authors: Richard Forrest and Dean Lomax

1 Plesiosaur.com, UK; 2 Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, UK

This specimen was collected by Dean Lomax and Ben Hyde at Kettleness, near Whitby, North Yorkshire on 28th October 2010, whilst photographing the coastline and field locations for the book 'Fossils of the Whitby Coast'. It is from the Jet Rock, in the Mulgrave Shales Member of the Whitby Mudstone Formation. It was found as a number of rather water-worn blocks of limestone showing bone on the surface and had evidently been exposed for some time. Some of the blocks showed possible skull elements and teeth, indicating that it merits further investigation.

Preparation is tricky because although the bone is generally well-preserved and undistorted, it is also very soft. Some of it has the consistency of a Cadbury’s Flake – hence the nickname! This made the use of acid or airbrasive methods impossible. Preparation has been carried out mostly using air pens (Palaeozoic TR and MR pens) and a grinder (Ken Mannion’s AG Grinder). Bone was consolidated using a 5 % or 10 % b.w. solution of paraloid in acetone as soon as it was exposed. A number of bones could be extensively exposed without risking damage, in particular both rami of the lower jaw. This allowed it to be identified as the long-necked plesiosaur Microcleidus.

The scattered and fragmentary nature of the find, and the wear on the blocks made it impossible to reassemble the specimen in either an anatomically correct arrangement or reconstruct its disposition within the rock band. Each block has been numbered and catalogued for future reference.

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Author/s: Mark R. Graham1, Jonathan D. Radley2, and Dean R. Lomax3 

1 Conservation Centre, Natural History Museum London, UK, 2 Warwickshire Museum, Market Place, Warwick, UK; 3 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, UK

Richard Hall worked at the Geological Department of the British Museum (Natural History) as a Fossil Preparator from 1885, during a period when many important specimens were being acquired for the collections. Very little is known about him or his work, but he made at least two significant contributions; the painstaking restoration of the dermal shield of the armoured dinosaur Polacanthus foxii and the excavation and recovery of a specimen of the ichthyosaur Temnodontosaurus platyodon from a quarry in Stockton, Warwickshire.

He received scant acknowledgement relating to the work he performed on Polacanthus over a period of seven years and no credit for securing the Temnodontosaurus, which remains on public display in the Fossil Marine Reptiles gallery at the Natural History Museum, London.

The ichthyosaur find and excavation in 1889 was photographed and covered in articles by Nature magazine and the local newspaper, and correspondence between Hall and his colleagues in the Geological Department of the BM(NH) was found in the NHM archives, relating to its challenging recovery.

While the ‘Stockton Ichthyosaur’, as it came to be known, entered the local folklore (and continues to feature in the community as an image on road signage, as the local primary school logo and the ‘handle’ of a Stockton weather observer ‘Ichthyosaur Weather’), Richard Hall’s part in the story remained unrecorded, until now. 

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Author/s: Clara Hairie1,3, Véronique Rouchon1, Oulfa Belhadj1, Annachiara Bartolini2, Marie-Béatrice Forel2, Eddy Dumas3, Nathalie Steunou3

1 Center for Research on Preservation, French Natural History Museum, France; 2 Center for Research on Palaeontology, French Natural History Museum, France; 3 University Versailles St Quentin en Yvelines, University of Paris-Saclay, Lavoisier Institute of Versailles, France

The occurrence of crystalline efflorescence on calcareous objects stored in polluted environments is commonly known as “Byne decay”. It results from the emission of acidic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by storage materials, that react with calcium carbonate in the porous substrates. This leads to the formation of various calcium organic salts, among which acetates and formates, and causes irreversible deterioration of the objects. The present work was initiated by the conservation report of Alcide d’Orbigny’s (1802-1857) micropaleontological collection of foraminifers, housed at the French Natural History Museum. This collection represents an outstanding scientific resource of approximatively 800 preparations, which consist into one or several specimens mounted on a microscope slide, itself placed on a blue paper support inside a glass tube. For many years, the tubes have been hermetically sealed with cork caps. Preliminary observations showed that some glass tubes presented weathering droplets on the surface, while specimens inside were partially or totally affected by salt efflorescence.

This presentation deals with the characterization of calcium salts formed on damaged specimens by combining multiple techniques such as powder X-ray diffraction, micro-Raman and infrared spectroscopies. Analysis of the degradation products shows that the mineralogical phases differ from those previously observed on Mollusca collections in the literature, with a majority of calcium formates (α and βCa(HCOO)2 but no trace of calcium acetate phase. Ongoing investigations are performed to determine the influencing factors in the nature and variability of the salts, including the substrate (composition, porosity…) and storage materials.

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Author/s: Anthonie Hellemond, Kevin Houben, Natalie Tolisz, and Kevin Nolis 

Palaeontologica Belgica and The Belgian Counsel for Earth Sciences (RAW-CST)

In the active quarry of Lompret near Chimay (province of Hainaut – Belgium) large accumulations of Frasnian cephalopods were collected between 2015 and 2020. The quarry comprises strata that can be linked to the ‘Kellwasser Event’, an important mass-extinction event near the Frasnian-Famennian boundary. Several of the fossil-rich lithological entities from this quarry require different approaches in terms of preparation. In this article we focus on the preparation techniques applied on cephalopods, an important and diverse group of organisms that can help us reconstruct deep marine environmental changes during an ecological crisis.

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Author: Tony Hitchcock

A brief image-based overview of the process and issues involved with creating an 8.4 metre life reconstruction of the Pliosaurus specimen excavated by Simon Carpenter in Westbury, for Bristol Museum. The brief necessitated creating a model that was robust enough to cope with over 75,000 hands-on visitors during the 8 month ground level portion of the exhibit, but also light enough to be supported from overhead trusses to give the illusion that she was swimming. The poster will present artistic, scientific and practical considerations needed in order to bring the project to fruition. Further discussion will include some of the compromises that were necessitated along the way.

First, I made a scale maquette, in consultation with Judith Sassoon. This was then scanned to create a 3D file, from which the full-sized version was CNC milled in Hampshire. This model then needed to be hollowed out to fit an internal support truss which would anchor to the ceiling, as well as providing a frame for the speaker system and computer-controlled animatronics that were installed for the interactive part of the exhibit.

The polystyrene form was then skinned with polyurea and painted in situ at the Museum. The final colour scheme was a composite of elements of various extant animals; our main objective was to create something believable, but also distinctive enough to be recognisable as Bristol’s Pliosaur, named Doris by public vote.

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Author/s: Sidhant Idgunji1, Xena Ross1, and Cristina Robins2

1 UC Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, USA; 2 Department of Museum Research and Collections, University of Alabama, USA

Since 2008, the SFPUC has funded the Calaveras Dam Reconstruction Project in order to improve water storage for Bay Area residents. However, excavation of the dam site yielded thousands of valuable vertebrate and invertebrate fossils. These fossils were shipped to us, a team at the University of California Museum of Paleontology. We treated the fossils, logged them in a database, and preserved them in the UCMP collections. Preparation was not always simple and straightforward, and sometimes a particular fossil required creative measures. A couple examples include the “jacketing” of whale skulls and the use of massive chisels and sledgehammers to break open boulders. At the end of our run, we had collected over 10,000 invertebrate fossils, 4,000 shark teeth, and 20 whale skulls. We collected taxonomic info in a database and created collecting curves for the invertebrates and shark teeth. This quantification gives us some insight into biodiversity and paleoecology. In addition, we discovered rare, unique fossils such as those of Desmostylus, and even a new species of whale. Our discoveries give some insight into the history of the convoluted geology that makes up the Calaveras Dam site.

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Author: Nigel R. Larkin

Affiliated Researcher, Cambridge University Museum of Zoology

In 2017, a dinosaur limb bone was discovered in intertidal deposits on the Isle of Eigg, Scotland dating to the Bathonian (Middle Jurassic) – a time period for which dinosaur body fossils are rare worldwide. In addition, this was the first dinosaur bone to be found in Scotland outside the Isle of Skye. However, the bone had been exposed to weathering, scavenging and transport before burial, making the surface less than robust. Compounding this, prior to its discovery it had been partly eroded away by tidal action, leading to the loss of the middle portion of the bone. Thankfully, the fragile bone was preserved in a relatively hard sedimentary rock (a calcite-cemented sandstone concretion of the Valtos Sandstone Formation) that was more resistant to erosion, resulting in a natural mould of the underside of the missing middle portion being present. Careful preparation to remove the 70+ kg of rock from around the bone after filling the natural mould with resin ultimately allowed the study of the whole bone, including the morphology of one side of the missing section and the total length of the bone was preserved.

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Author/s: Jeff Liston1,2,3,4, Valentin Fischer5, Darren Naish6, Sandra Chapman7, Steve Brindley8 

1 Preservation and Research, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Canada; 2 Fachruppe Paläoumwelt, GeoZentrum Nordbayern, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany; 3 Department of Natural Sciences, National Museums Scotland, Scotland; 4 SNSB-Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie, Germany; 5 Evolution and Diversity Dynamics Lab, Université de Liège, Belgium; 6 School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, UK; 7 Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum London, UK; 8 Newmilns, KA16 9BE, UK

The death of Robert Appleby in 2004 brought to light a wealth of unpublished ichthyosaur research. Amongst this body of work was a description of the first ichthyosaur from Iraq, dubbed ‘Iraqisaurus kurdistanensis’. Although the manuscript was sent to Palaeontology in 1979, doubts existed regarding the Jurassic age of the specimen. Archival correspondence was consulted and a fresh sample taken from the block, confirming the pre-Aptian Early Cretaceous results previously obtained by Norman Hughes for the specimen. When publication of the work was attempted, however, these results (indicating the survival of a non-ophthalmosaurid so far beyond the J-K horizon) were regarded as somewhat heretical by one reviewer, who became increasingly hostile as the manuscript progressed. Eventually, the editor and an arbiter overruled him, as it had become obvious that his resistance was fuelled less by flaws in the evidence presented, and more by his inherent belief that such things just ‘could not be’, unfavourably reminiscent of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe’s blind belief that Archaeopteryx was a fake, simply because it did not fit their idiosyncratic views on evolutionary mechanisms. Following publication, the reviewer has repeatedly attempted to dismiss the specimen from consideration by Cretaceous researchers, through casting aspersions on the preparatory and sampling work done on the specimen. Acknowledging that academic prejudice against technical work has been a longstanding problem in palaeontology, it is hoped that more thoroughly documenting the sampling of the specimen here will lay the question of the dating of Malawania anachronus to rest once and for all.

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Author/s: Fátima Marcos-Fernández1.2, Susana Bartolomé2, Elena Fernández Fernández2, Javier Fernández Martínez2, Irene Martínez Fernández2, Marta Onrubia1, Sofía Poblete1, Marina Ruíz Takamido1, and Francisco Ortega2

1 Facultad de Bellas Artes, UCM.C, España; 2 Grupo  de  Biología  Evolutiva,  Facultad  de  Ciencias,  UNED. España

Vertebrate remains from the Late Cretaceous "Lo Hueco" fossil site (Fuentes, Cuenca, Spain) present conservation problems derived from the application of some methods for the elimination of the matrix (Marcos-Fernández, Plaza-Beltrán and Ortega, 2018). To avoid these problems, some alternative cleaning methods have been explored (Marcos-Fernández et al., 2020). In this context, the use of gels associated with EDTA has given positive results for removing iron crusts on vertebrate remains.

Different treatments have been proven by modifying the EDTA concentration, the amount of gelling agent and the action time of the gelled solution.

The treatment effectiveness was verified both by direct observation of the amount of crust that is dissolved in the gel and by the ability to facilitate its subsequent removal by mechanical methods.

Once the most suitable gelled solution has been determined, a treatment has been set. This treatment consists of applying a 150 ml solution of water with 7.5 g of EDTA and a drop of surfactant for 7 to 15 minutes. To gel the mixture, 6 g of carboxymethylcellulose and 3 g of neutralized polyacrylic acid (carbogel®) are used. To remove the gel and to neutralize the treatment, the application of paper pulp with demineralized water has been used until the gel is totally eliminated.

The treatment is slow but results are very effective since it allows for the removal of the iron crusts on the vertebrate remains from Lo Hueco but doesn’t affect the integrity of the fossil surface during the process.

References

Marcos-Fernández, F. et al. (2020) ‘Controlled chemical cleaning in paleontological preparation: the use of gels on vertebrate fossil remains from the Late Cretaceous of Spain’, Journal of Iberian Geology. doi: 10.1007/s41513-020-00129-w

Marcos-Fernández, F., Plaza-Beltrán, M. and Ortega, F. (2018) ‘La Conservación Preventiva de material paleontológico, la colección de Lo Hueco, the Preventive Conservation of paleontological material, Lo Hueco collection’, in GEIIC Kongresua Congreso 2018ko irailaren 20tik 22ra 20-22 de septiembre de 2018. Álava, pp. 402–410

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Author/s: Emma Nicholls and Charlotte Ridley

The Horniman Museum and Gardens

Despite several publications issuing advice on the long-term storage of geological collections, there is no International Standard and much of the guidance is both generalised and even conflicting (Baars and Horak, 2018). A recent survey of museum professionals looking at the use of plastic bags for long-term storage of geological collections revealed a need and desire for more specific advice in this area. This paper serves to collate and combine data with additional anecdotal evidence from over 20 institutions across Europe. The aim is to provide meaningful guidance – to be expanded upon for publication.

Approximately 10% of the 3000+ mineral species are known to be susceptible to deterioration if stored inadequately (Waller, 1992). This means whether to bag depends primarily on the mineral composition of the material – as bagging can create a microenvironment which is harmful to some specimens (Brunton et al., 1985) but entirely necessary in the protection of others, such as in preventing deterioration due to pyrite decay (Larkin, 2019). Different bag materials can be used depending on whether a microclimate is required.

Although mineral composition should be the primary factor, there are other considerations. With space a premium for any museum collection, drawers often contain tens or hundreds of small fossils. In this scenario specimen bags can be used to avoid disassociation of parts or labels. Bags have also been shown to create an additional (though not-impenetrable) deterrent for pests which can damage specimen labels. However, if bags are used for specimens that should not otherwise be kept in a microclimate, small holes should be created to allow air flow. Whilst boxes are preferable for some purposes, the greater space they take up can render them a less practical choice.

References

Baars, C. and Horak, J. 2018. Storage and Conservation of Geological Collections - A Research Agenda. Journal of the Institute of Conservation 41 (2), 154-168.

Brunton, C. H. C., Besterman, T. P. and Cooper, J. A. 1984. Guidelines for the Curation of Geological Materials. Geological Society Miscellaneous Paper No. 17, prepared by the Geological Curators' Group.

Larkin, N. 2019. Keep Calm and Call the Conservator: It is only Pyrite Decay and your Specimen may be Salvageable. Geological Curator 11 (1), 33-38.

Waller, R. 1992. Temperature and Humidity Sensitive Mineralogical and Petrological Specimens. pp. 25-50 in Howie, F. (ed), The Care and Conservation of Geological Material: Minerals, Rocks, Meteorites and Lunar Finds. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. 128 pp.

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Author/s: Gabriel Peixer1, and Robson Bolzon2 

Geology Graduation Course, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil; Department of Geology, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil

The occurrence of mineralized leaves is uncommon in the fossil record, and mineralization by iron oxides is even less frequent. During the earthworks of an area in Tijucas do Sul, Paraná State (Brazil), a layer of lateritic crust about 5cm thick and 5m thick was exposed (-25,823546S, 49,130016 W). This layer occurs at the Colombo Member (Tabatinga Formation, Tijucas do Sul Basin), formed by conglomeratic lens and immature sandy matrix, overlaid by a colluvium layer up to 5m thick. The inferred age for the layer is Upper Pleistocene to Holocene. The resistance and irregularity of the layer made it difficult to collect samples, which were removed from the site in irregular blocks. In the laboratory, the samples were cleaned with water and opened to expose the leaves. Most of the delicate leaves were concentrated in thin layers with little sediment between them. After the preparation process, 37 samples with more than 520 leaves were obtained. The description of the anatomical characteristics, carried out with a stereoscopic microscope, indicated that the leaves are from Angiosperms, with sizes between nanophyll and microphyll, predominantly elliptical, with acute base and apex, and erose margin type. Subsequent analysis made using SEM and EDS revealed a good preservation of anatomical and morphological details of the leaf epidermis cells, including stomata and also showing evidence of rapid fossilization, that the mineralization occurred by iron and manganese oxides. Furthermore, the analysis indicates this leaf deposit is related to transport during floods in floodplain deposits.

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Author: Chris Reedman

Jurassic Coast Trust

The Jurassic Coast is one of the world's most famous fossil sites and is visited by millions of people each year. Historically a key locality for the development of palaeontology, the coastline continues to provide new discoveries and offer inspiration to future generations of earth scientists. Whilst the importance of the Site's palaeontology is well established in scientific literature, demonstrating its role within World Heritage presents certain challenges. More could be done to improve access to important fossils and to better emphasise their unique role in the story of the Site. Of the specimens that fully illustrate the World Heritage Status of this coastline, some are stored or displayed locally however many are found in national and international museums. In addition, there are many spectacular and important specimens held in private collections, which have an unquestionable, albeit unrealised, potential to inspire, given a suitable approach to research and public engagement. The Jurassic Coast Collection Project is a unique opportunity to identify a globally important collection of fossils which explicitly demonstrate the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. It will provide a new evidence base to energise research and scientific study along the World Heritage Site. It will help identify priority areas for specimen acquisition, promoting further investment and support for the creation of new facilities that expand the collective capacity to conserve and curate the Site's incredible fossil heritage whilst encouraging public interest in and recognition of a network of local museums and visitor centres.

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