San Diego Natural History Museum Paleontology Department

San Diego Natural History Museum Paleontology Department The SDNHM Department of Paleontology houses collections of fossil vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants collected primarily from Mesozoic- through Cenozoic-aged sites in southern California and northern Baja California, Mexico.
Location: San Diego Natural History Museum Balboa Park 1788 El Prado San Diego, California 92101

As written in today's op-ed: We need to add a caveat to Jeff Goldblum’s famous line in “Jurassic Park,” “Life finds a wa...
05/10/2019
San Diego Natural History Museum

As written in today's op-ed: We need to add a caveat to Jeff Goldblum’s famous line in “Jurassic Park,” “Life finds a way,” when we give it a chance.

"We need to ... recognize that the long-term survival of nature is synonymous with the long-term survival of humans."

A powerful op-ed in The San Diego Union-Tribune today by our very own Vice President of Science and Conservation Dr. Michael Wall. Read and spread the word.

Curious about the state of our local #wildlife? Join us at the 2nd Annual State of #Biodiversity Symposium coming up on ...
01/31/2019
The State of Biodiversity

Curious about the state of our local #wildlife? Join us at the 2nd Annual State of #Biodiversity Symposium coming up on Wednesday, February 6. #Scientists will share info on emerging threats, current #research, and more. Tickets to this day-long event are still available and can be purchased at www.sdnat.org/stateofbiodiversity. #wildlifeconservation

Have you seen today's #GoogleDoodle? It's an illustration drawn by a second-grader who wants to be a #paleontologist whe...
01/08/2019
Doodle 4 Google 2018 - US Winner

Have you seen today's #GoogleDoodle? It's an illustration drawn by a second-grader who wants to be a #paleontologist when she grows up. Adorable!

Rock out with the #DoodleforGoogle 2018 winner "Dino Doodle" by Sarah Gomez-Lane! 🦖🦕 #GoogleDoodle

Tickets for this Saturday's NATtalk are sold out. However, we have decided to open up a limited amount of virtual ticket...
04/28/2017
Groundbreaking Discovery: An Evening with the Cerutti Mastodon Scientists

Tickets for this Saturday's NATtalk are sold out. However, we have decided to open up a limited amount of virtual tickets for folks to join via live stream. Registration required. Click below to sign up. #CeruttiMastodon #theNAT #NATtalks

Join the authors of the manuscript titled “A 130,000-year-old archaeological site in southern California, U.S.A.” that is scheduled to be published in the April 27 issue of the prestigious science journal Nature.

Retired San Diego Natural History Museum Paleontologist Richard Cerutti (left) and Curator of Paleontology and Director ...
04/28/2017

Retired San Diego Natural History Museum Paleontologist Richard Cerutti (left) and Curator of Paleontology and Director of PaleoServices Dr. Tom Deméré (right) examining a drawer full of Cerutti Mastodon site fossils in the San Diego Natural History Museum’s Paleontology Collection Room. #CeruttiMastodon

04/27/2017
San Diego Natural History Museum

A little #TBT to 1992 ... and 130,000 years ago! #CeruttiMastodon

#ICYMI: This morning, the San Diego Natural History Museum announced the discovery of mastodon fossils that yield the earliest evidence of human activity in the Americas. More details: www.sdnat.org/ceruttimastodon. #CeruttiMastodon #theNAT #Paleontology #Archaeology #EarlyHumans #NorthAmerica #Research #Science

Yesterday was a big day! So excited to finally share our amazing discoveries from the #CeruttiMastodon site - a 130,000 ...
04/27/2017
Humans in California 130,000 Years Ago? Get the Facts

Yesterday was a big day! So excited to finally share our amazing discoveries from the #CeruttiMastodon site - a 130,000 year old site right here in San Diego that documents the earliest evidence of human activity in the Americas.

A new study has dropped a bombshell on archaeology, claiming signs of human activity in the Americas far earlier than thought.

#TBT: Special thanks to PaleoServices Report Writer Shelly Donohue for digging up this gem. This is the first holiday ca...
12/22/2016

#TBT: Special thanks to PaleoServices Report Writer Shelly Donohue for digging up this gem. This is the first holiday card sent to our PaleoServices clients back in the day. Can you guess what year this was taken? #ThrowbackThursday #theNAT #Paleontology #HappyHolidays

These dainty crab fossils were uncovered by #theNAT’s paleontologists, in partnership with Caltrans, during construction...
09/09/2016

These dainty crab fossils were uncovered by #theNAT’s paleontologists, in partnership with Caltrans, during construction along I-5 near Genesee Avenue. Believe it or not, these crabs were scurrying along the ocean floor about 46 million years ago, when this part of our region was submerged under water. #FossilFriday

Happy #FossilFriday! Today we are at a construction site in downtown San Diego's East Village, dry screening fossilifero...
05/20/2016

Happy #FossilFriday! Today we are at a construction site in downtown San Diego's East Village, dry screening fossiliferous sandstones of the San Diego Formation (~3.5 - 1.5 million years old). So far we’ve salvaged oysters, snails, sand dollars, barnacles, and a bone from a yet-to-be-identified marine mammal.

Yesterday we said bon voyage to our lead fossil preparator, Nikki Anderson! For the last 4 years Nikki has been our fear...
04/27/2016

Yesterday we said bon voyage to our lead fossil preparator, Nikki Anderson! For the last 4 years Nikki has been our fearless leader in the prep lab, teaching us how to better jacket and prepare fossils, all while making us laugh, humming great tunes, and setting a new standard for efficiency and organization in the lab. Nikki prepared hundreds of fossil specimens ranging from shells of marine clams and snails, to tiny lizard jaws, to giant bison skulls. Good luck on all of your adventures, Nikki! We sure are going to miss you.

San Diego Natural History Museum Paleontology Department
04/01/2016

San Diego Natural History Museum Paleontology Department

We threw our annual PaleoServices Open House party back in October and finally have our pictures!  This night is an oppo...
12/03/2015

We threw our annual PaleoServices Open House party back in October and finally have our pictures! This night is an opportunity to mingle with our clients and partners, and to showcase the fossils that were collected and preserved throughout the year.

We threw our annual PaleoServices Open House party back in October and finally have our pictures! This night is an opportunity to mingle with our clients and partners, and to showcase the fossils that were collected and preserved throughout the year.

Making progress on the Bison skull.  Come watch as we prepare it in the Demo Lab on the 3rd floor!
09/23/2015

Making progress on the Bison skull. Come watch as we prepare it in the Demo Lab on the 3rd floor!

We've started work on the bison skull in the Demonstration Lab on the 3rd floor, and are starting to see some molars!
09/18/2015

We've started work on the bison skull in the Demonstration Lab on the 3rd floor, and are starting to see some molars!

Before and after shots of work on the proboscidean humerus yesterday in the fossil prep lab!
09/10/2015

Before and after shots of work on the proboscidean humerus yesterday in the fossil prep lab!

Mammoth Skull transport & CT Scan
05/12/2015

Mammoth Skull transport & CT Scan

With generous help from the Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), we were able to successfully CAT scan and x-ray our ...
05/12/2015
Mammoth Skull Gets Scan, X-Rays

With generous help from the Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), we were able to successfully CAT scan and x-ray our 500,000-year-old Columbian mammoth fossil to further our knowledge of the species. This specimen resides on Level 3 of the Museum as you enter the Skulls exhibition.

Radiologists at Naval Medical Center San Diego just got one of their most unusual patients ever: it’s 300 pounds, a half-million years old and once belonged to a Colombian Mammoth.

Annual Paleo Campout 2015
02/25/2015

Annual Paleo Campout 2015

We had a visiting specimen in paleontology today.
02/02/2015

We had a visiting specimen in paleontology today.

Shout out to our pal Clayton from Canon Exploratory School in Colorado. Our paleo team is taking great care of your dino! We'll be sending him back to you soon along with some other goodies. Thanks again for the note. #theNAT #Paleontology

This morning in the lab, Bridget is busy repairing the cast of a Camarasaurus tibia that will be going on display in the...
10/10/2014

This morning in the lab, Bridget is busy repairing the cast of a Camarasaurus tibia that will be going on display in the upcoming Monsters! exhibit at the Museum of Man. The exhibit opens October 25th.

Last week, our paleo monitors discovered an almost completely intact sea cow thought to be between 5 and 7 million years...
07/21/2014
Sea cow fossil found along Orange County toll road

Last week, our paleo monitors discovered an almost completely intact sea cow thought to be between 5 and 7 million years old in Orange County, CA, while monitoring along the 73 toll road. Several of our staff were involved in its excavation and retrieval. Check it out!

http://abc7.com/news/sea-cow-fossil-found-along-orange-county-toll-road-/199945/

A Caltrans crew discovered a sea cow fossil while installing a sprinkler system along the 73 toll road in south Orange County.

Back in 2012, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) donated two collection cabinets to our department, as part of their mu...
05/06/2014

Back in 2012, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) donated two collection cabinets to our department, as part of their museum program to support fossils collected on BLM land. We are always running out of space in our existing cabinets, and are very grateful for the BLM's support in helping us to house our ever-growing collections!

The Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner was held a couple of weeks ago for our hundreds of volunteers who give so much ...
05/05/2014

The Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner was held a couple of weeks ago for our hundreds of volunteers who give so much of their time and effort to our museum, both in the public eye and behind-the-scenes in our science departments. It was an especially exciting night for the paleo department, as one of our longtime volunteers, Jim Colclough, was honored for his staggering 25 years of volunteer service to the paleontology department. He is an expert in the preparation of fossil whales, and his calm demeanor and hilarious sense of humor make for fun Thursdays in the lab. Happy 25 years Jim!

This morning in the lab, Kay is busy putting foam into a new fiberglass/hydrocal cradle that she constructed to house a ...
04/30/2014

This morning in the lab, Kay is busy putting foam into a new fiberglass/hydrocal cradle that she constructed to house a partial horse skull.

Today I am working on vertebrate material from the Otay Formation, a fluvial sedimentary rock unit approximately 29 mill...
04/30/2014

Today I am working on vertebrate material from the Otay Formation, a fluvial sedimentary rock unit approximately 29 million years old.

Our Monday volunteers are hard at work in the preparation lab today!  Mark is cleaning turtle fragments, Bridget is scri...
04/28/2014

Our Monday volunteers are hard at work in the preparation lab today! Mark is cleaning turtle fragments, Bridget is scribing matrix off of mammal limbs, Bruce is using an X-acto blade to carefully remove the matrix from an 11-15 million year old baleen whale skull, and Carolanne is cleaning 200,000 year old invertebrates.

Some new research straight out of the Paleontology Department at SDNHM: A new species of fossil baleen whale discovered ...
01/28/2014
Herpetocetus morrowi (Cetacea: Mysticeti), a new species of diminutive baleen whale from the...

Some new research straight out of the Paleontology Department at SDNHM: A new species of fossil baleen whale discovered from right here in San Diego! Unlike modern baleen whales, this species was very small and likely only reached a length of 10 to 12 feet. Museum paleontologists have shown that this 3.5 million year old species of baleen whale (Herpetocetus morrowi) used its unique lower jaw and baleen to suck up prey-filled sediments from the bottom of the ocean to forage for food (much like modern day Gray whales!). Herpetocetus morrowi (pronounced her-pet-oh-seat-us more-oh-eye) was named in memory of San Diego State geologist Jared Morrow. Let us know if you have any questions!


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/zoj.12108/abstract

El Adli, J. J., Deméré, T. A. and Boessenecker, R. W. (2014), Herpetocetus morrowi (Cetacea: Mysticeti), a new species of diminutive baleen whale from the Upper Pliocene (Piacenzian) of California, USA, with observations on the evolution and relationships of the Cetotheriidae. Zoological Journal of…

Get ready for tons of fun events during "Fossil Days", all next week at the San Diego Natural History Museum! Be sure to...
03/15/2012
theNAT :: San Diego Natural History Museum :: Your Nature Connection in Balboa Park :: Fossil Days

Get ready for tons of fun events during "Fossil Days", all next week at the San Diego Natural History Museum! Be sure to sign up for a lecture by the famous dinosaur paleontologist Jack Horner (follow the link for more information!)

http://www.sdnhm.org/education/family-fun/fossil-days/

The San Diego Natural History Museum's Environmental Science Education Center (ESEC) is a comprehensive resource for programs that inspire understanding, respect, and responsible action for our environment.

02/05/2012

Come and see Joe make a storage cradle for the torso of the SD Zoo whale on free Tuesday (Feb. 7th) in the atrium of SDNHM! This is your chance to get a peek at what goes on inside of the paleontology department :)!

01/12/2012

Monday (January 16th) is Fossil Family Fun Day at the museum. We will have screening for fossils and fossil preparation with the ability to bring home real fossils! Plus Kesler Randall (Vertebrate Paleontology Collections Manager) will be giving a behind the scenes tour of our fossil collection and Joe El Adli (Fossil Preparation Lab Manager) will be giving a tour of our fossil preparation lab! :) Come and meet real paleontologists, ask them questions, and touch real, locally-found fossils! Hope to see you all there!

The dorsal (back side) of the torso showing vertebrae, ribs, and scapulae.
10/26/2011

The dorsal (back side) of the torso showing vertebrae, ribs, and scapulae.

Random Prep Lab Photos
10/09/2011

Random Prep Lab Photos

Weekend Paleo Department Displays
10/09/2011

Weekend Paleo Department Displays

Acid preping a fossil whale skull dredged from the Chesepeake Bay
09/13/2011

Acid preping a fossil whale skull dredged from the Chesepeake Bay

Zoo Whale
09/13/2011

Zoo Whale

Weekend Paleo Department Displays
09/11/2011

Weekend Paleo Department Displays

Weekend Paleo Department Displays
09/04/2011

Weekend Paleo Department Displays

Zoo Whale
09/04/2011

Zoo Whale

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1788 El Prado
San Diego, CA
92101

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