Hi,

I am doing a bachelor researchproject on oligocene artiodactyl teeth on the University Utrecht (The Netherlands). For now it looks like to be Iberomeryx Minor :). But my question is about something else:


I come from biology and for me the transition to paleontology was a pretty big step. There are so many different possibilities in this very specialist workfield. My professor asked me if I could make a report about all the techniques that are currently used around the world on (vertebrate) paleontology and score them on costs, durabilty, time consuming, etc. It costs students to much time to search and read about the possiblities for their researchproject. With this report new students have a quick guide what is possible in this field. Most students have only the basic knowlegde about what is possible from popular literature and documentaries.

Now is my question to you experts:

How did you (paleontologists) experience the transition from a regular major (expl. geology or Biology) to the real paleontology work? (expl. internships or researchprojects)

If you know some state of the art researchtechniques please let me know ;)
(Isotopes, 3d printing, microwear etc.)

Thank you!

What happened to me was I finished a BS in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology while taking some paleontology courses in the Earth & Environmental Sciences department and working in a paleontology lab on campus. I realized that I wasn't happy with just the biology degree, and asked the PI of the lab if he could suggest some additional courses in geology to help me get into grad school if I ended up in a geology or earth sciences department. He had been hoping for a while to put together a joint biology/geology degree and it had never happened, but he was happy to suggest some courses, and I ended up taking enough to get a second BS in Environmental Geology. The lab I was working in focused on stable isotope ecology, so those were the kinds of researchers I looked for when searching for grad schools, and I ended up doing a Masters with someone who had done stable isotopes during their PhD but was transitioning to microwear, so I got a bit of experience with both techniques.

I think the undergrad degrees were great, but I never would have pursued paleontology as a career without that experience in a working lab, getting my hands dirty and seeing what doing the science was really like. Hope that helps!