University of California Museum of Paleontology UCMP in the field See the world (and its fossils) with UCMP's field notes.
About UCMP People Blog Online Exhibits Public programs Education Collections Research

Destructive Analysis of Collections

Destructive analysis of UCMP fossils must be approved in advance by the Museum Scientist overseeing the specific collection and the Assistant Director for Research and Collections (see contact information here). Deposition in UCMP of histological slides, digital files, and data generated in these studies may be required. All requests are reviewed individually. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and select specimens to be sampled in their project design.

Proposal for destructive sampling
A written proposal is required and should include the following information:

  • Requester's name, address, phone number, e-mail address.

  • Project description and an explanation of the significance of the proposed research.

  • Discussion of why UCMP collections are required.

  • Description of research methods and expected analytical results.

  • Types of analysis to be performed (destructive to the objects) and why they are appropriate to the questions being asked.

  • Location where analysis will be performed and who will analyze the results (name of institution and contact information);

  • Discussion of why non-invasive or non-destructive techniques cannot be used to address the research questions.

  • Discussion of how effects of destructive analysis will be mitigated (e.g., molding & casting of specimens pre-sampling)

  • Identification of other possible or confirmed specimen sources.

  • Date when the sample(s) will be returned (if applicable).

  • Provide list and description of each specimen (by catalog or locality number, as appropriate) to be used in the project.

  • Anticipated venue(s) for presentation of results.

Proposal evaluation criteria
Proposals are evaluated by relevant UCMP staff in coordination with the Assistant Director for Research and Collections based on the following criteria:

  • The research proposal is sound.

  • The analytical methods proposed should yield the intended results and are the least intrusive analytical means of obtaining those results.

  • The proposed analyst is qualified to perform the work.

  • The amount of sample and number of specimens requested is necessary to obtain accurate results.

  • Each specimen can be safely sampled or cast in such a way that future study/analysis is not precluded.

  • The degree to which any proposed destructive sampling affects the specimen is minimal.

  • The samples will be returned (if applicable) so they can be retained for future use.

  • The probability of receiving analytical results from the researcher is high.

Guidelines for approved destructive analysis
In the event that permission is granted, all researchers must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • All specimen parts (e.g., thin sections, powder or ground samples) must be returned to UCMP unless alternative arrangements are confirmed in advance.

  • In many cases, molding and casting of specimens is required (e.g., for histological and some isotopic analyses).

  • Full documentation regarding location, degree and manner of sampling must be maintained and provided to UCMP.

  • The researcher agrees that UCMP will receive a complete copy of the analytical outcomes (including raw data in the form of graphs, computer printouts, etc) resulting from the sampling or testing of UCMP collections. Analytical outcomes should include not only the raw results but also details regarding specific methodologies and instrumentation employed.

  • All costs of the analysis, including packing and round trip shipping of the loan, are the responsibility of the researcher.