Greg Brown posted this great quote over on the 'Vertebrate Paleontology Preparation and Conservation' group on facebook (you should join), and I just had to share it with you all:
"This is from a review (written by Gilbert Stucker, 1977) of A. E. Rixon's prep manual...thought it was interesting and worth sharing:
"The trouble with fossils is that they are found encased in rock. An elaborate technology -- one might almost call it a 'mystique' -- has grown up around the need to remove this rock, while still preserving its contents. [Rixon] shares membership in that dedicated body of workers referred to facetiously by the late D. R. Barton as 'the Jimmy Valentines of Science' -- the middlemen through whose hands a petrification must normally pass before it can be properly evaluated as a scientific object. Known to the profession as 'preparators', their job specifications read like those of a jack-of-all-trades -- stonemason, prospector, expedition organizer, cook, mechanic, blacksmith, chemist, and, sometimes, artist. The work can be ardous and is usually of painstaking character, requiring infinite patience, skill, and a knowledge of animal osteology."
On a related note, don't forget about the Second Annual Fossil Preparation and Collections Symposium* which will be held this year at the Tate Museum on Friday, June 5th (2009). Start making your plans!
*previous blog post on the meeting