New collections from the field have always been an important part of paleontology and our staff members have field projects all over the western USA.
Edward Davis is visiting all Oregon localities in the fossil collection database. Since many of our localities were collected before the USGS completed its topographic map series, several sites are only known from written directions and descriptions. Our goal is to verify site locations using modern maps and GPS technology.
Samantha Hopkins is currently revisiting J. Arnold Shotwell's Juntura project sites in eastern Oregon. Dr. Shotwell's work in the 1950s-70s jumpstarted the modern science of paleoecology, studying the ecological relationships of fossil animals. Dr. Hopkins plans to build on this foundation through additional field collections and new computer-based techniques.
Greg Retallack has systematically collected and catalogued fossil plants, invertebrates and vertebrates from rocks of all ages in Oregon, with particularly attention to exact location, stratigraphic level and facies, since 1981. In addition to specimens of well known formations such as the Eocene Coaledo and Clarno Formations and Miocene Astoria Formation gathered for paleo-ecological studies, the collection includes un-described collections of Jurassic, Cretaceous and Paleocene fossil floras, multiple zones of Cretaceous ammonites, Jurassic fish, and Paleozoic corals and brachiopods. His collection also includes representative fossils from around the world, with special strengths in trilobites and fish, and in fossils from Australia and Antarctica.
Bill and Liz Orr have active digs in McMinnville and Woodburn. These are late Pleistocene mammal sites that produce elephants, sloth and bison as well as many rodents.
We are always interested in new finds reported by members of the public. In fact, most new fossil sites are found by people out having fun in the wild, not by professional paleontologists.
Remember, finds on federal and state land should be immediately reported to land management. Collecting fossils on public land is regulated by the government.
Finds on private land in the United States are property of the landowner. We are happy to help with excavation of fossil finds on private land if the fossils will be donated to the museum collection.
All fossil donations are tax-deductible charitable contributions. If you found a fossil and want to report it or have it identified, please contact Edward Davis firstname.lastname@example.org