Multi-tasking in the UCMP Prep Lab (cont.)

Of course, the reason for all of these efforts is to prepare the fossils for study. It is the careful examination, comparison, and interpretation of fossils that help us to gain a clearer picture of past life. In order to make our fossils available for study by others, we create molds of the original and then make casts that can be sent to other researchers. Our molding techniques, using silicone and latex, are so precise that near identical copies can be made. Once again, we are grateful to our student volunteers. Yasmin, a senior here at Cal, has been working in the lab for two years and has become adept at making molds and casting. She finds satisfaction in altering clay and silicone with her hands as a break from course-work pressures.
With all of these activities, co-opted tools, sounds, bits of plaster and such, it is safe to say that the Prep Lab looks either like utter chaos or a creative mixture of multiple projects underway. It depends upon the point of view. Regardless, there is always something interesting to look at, and never an unchallenging moment.
  Yasmin Rahman makes a mold
Student volunteer Yasmin Rahman has become skilled at making molds of fossil bones. Click on the photo to see an enlargement. (photo by Jane Mason)

Jane at work
Jane doesn’t work on fossils exclusively. Here she is trying to consolidate the fragile egg cases of extant snails. (photo by Colleen Whitney)

January, 2001

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